Leeds schoolgirl to cycle 150km for child poverty after being inspired by Marcus Rashford

A 12-year-old Leeds schoolgirl has been inspired to cycle the 150km route from Leeds to Wigan Pier to raise funds for children in poverty.

Saturday, 20th November 2021, 4:45 am

Esther Adamson plans to cycle the route having been inspired by legendary author George Orwell and England footballer Marcus Rashford.

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Having launched a JustGiving page a little over a week ago she has already raised £400 towards her £1,000 target with sponsors including local MP Fabian Hamilton.

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Esther, 12, wants to cycle the 150km route from Leeds to Wigan Pier having been inspired by author George Orwell and England footballer Marcus Rashford. Picture: Steve Riding.

"I think child poverty is a big big thing that we need to sort out in the world." Esther told the YEP "I think there are loads of children out there, children and adults, who have no money or have no food and they need supplies to stay alive."

Esther, a year seven pupil at Leeds' Allerton High School has been learning about George Orwell and his book "The Road to Wigan Pier" at school.

The book, first published back in 1937, documents a broken impoverished Britain, before delivering a long meditation on creating a fairer society but for young Esther not enough has changed in British society in the 84 years since the book was first released.

"We visited Wigan Pier as a family and I realised that it was on the Leeds-Liverpool canal route which we often cycle on." Esther said "The Road to Wigan Pier was Orwell’s account of poverty in the 1930s and in 2021 it still exists and shouldn’t."

Young Esther has felt the support of her peers and hopes that her challenge can help inspire others.

"Lots of my friends have been very supportive and my school have been there and promoted my sponsorship." she said "They put it on the Instagram and the Twitter even sending a newsletter out. They are happy for me and I hope that more will get involved in future."

A further source of inspiration for Esther has been England footballer Marcus Rashford.

The Manchester United forward has been front and centre to anti-child poverty campaigns in recent times and even managed to force a government u turn to continue free school meals during lockdown.

"I think it's been brilliant. We're not really a football household, I knew who he was but its more his actions during lockdown with school dinners that made me more aware." dad Richard explained "I think he's an amazing young guy and I think there are a lot of young sporting people who are using their position to make a difference."

For mum Amanda he is an example of what can be achieved if you push for it enough.

"I think he's a great example of how you can make change, you can put pressure on the Government and it happened." she said "He wanted something, he pressed for it and he got it, he achieved it."

Esther and dad Richard plan to cycle the 150km route from Leeds to Wigan Pier over a two-day period and it will be done in conjunction with the George Orwell society who have been in touch with the Adamson family and are keen to promote the cycle.

"I think she's crazy because I'm going to have to cycle with her and I'm 49 years of age so I might not make it but we'll see how it goes." dad Richard joked.

Esther is no stranger to public campaigns having previously launched a climate change petition and started her recent campaign by donating all her saved up pocket money.

Parents Amanda and Richard have spoken of their pride.

"We are very proud. It was her idea that she came to us with and we helped develop it with her." dad Richard explained "I think it's great that children her age are being proactive and trying to make a change."

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