Thea, 7, raises £1,200 in memory of Auntie Helen

Date: 27 May 2020

A seven-year-old girl has raised £1,200 for Yorkshire Cancer Research after completing a 15-mile bike ride. 

Thea Greenwood, from Aberford, near Leeds, decided to take on the challenge to celebrate the life of her auntie, Helen Cracknell, who passed away from breast cancer last year.

Thea’s mum Emma said: “Thea’s had a bike for a long time, but after lockdown we started cycling every evening to get outside for exercise. As we started getting a bit fitter her uncle Dan - Helen’s husband - suggested we work up to a longer ride and do it for charity. 

Thea with her auntie Helen at the Strictly Come Dancing tour at the First Direct Arena in Leeds

Thea with her auntie Helen at the Strictly Come Dancing tour at the First Direct Arena in Leeds 

“Thea was up for the challenge, and choosing the charity was easy as Yorkshire Cancer Research is so close to our hearts.”

Helen was first diagnosed with cancer in 2014. Following surgery and chemotherapy she was able to spend 18 months ‘cancer free’ and celebrate her 40th birthday with family and friends. However, the cancer returned, and she passed away at St Leonards Hospice in York in February 2019. 

Emma said: “Helen was beautiful both inside and out. She was incredibly kind and thoughtful. Throughout her experience with cancer she was so determined and inspirational. She did everything with such dignity and thought for others.

“She and Dan didn’t have any children but Thea was as good as her own. They just adored each other. They both loved Strictly Come Dancing and would spend hours making up routines. They loved to bake and cook, but most of all they just enjoyed spending time with each other. 

“Helen was so protective of Thea during her illness, always making time for her and never showing how much pain she was in.”

Thea cycled a circular route from her uncle’s home in Sherburn-in-Elmet, where she and her parents have been living since lockdown, to surrounding villages including Saxton, Church Fenton and Little Fenton. 

Helen and Thea on holiday in Portugal

Helen and Thea on holiday in Portugal

Emma added: “She was nervous leading up to it but she was absolutely brilliant on the day, often beating me up the big hills. She was just determined to get to the end and earn all the money people had donated. 

“She was so pleased afterwards and happy with all the lovely messages, congratulations and video calls she received. Myself, her dad and her uncle did it with her and we were all so proud of her achievement and determined attitude. She was a little star.”

To sponsor Thea, please visit

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