A 13-YEAR-OLD boy has completed a marathon cycle in memory of his stillborn brother.

Benjamin Denman, from Beauworth, near Alresford, cycled 26.2miles over five evenings last month to raise funds for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice, who supported his family when his brother, Joshua, was stillborn in 2018.

He said: “They helped us as a family when my brother was stillborn in May 2018. We got to spend time with Joshua as a family and hold him thanks to Chestnut Tree House providing him with a cuddle cot in his own room.”

Benjamin carried out the challenge on a mountain bike in the paddock fields in his family’s garden in good weather and in heavy rain he used an exercise bike.

His mum Fiona said: “To celebrate finishing the school year, Benjamin decided to take on a challenge to raise awareness and funds for Chestnut Tree House.

“Benjamin cycled five miles every day and on his last day six miles to do a total of 26.2 miles. He’s not an avid cycler so it was a bit of a challenge for him - especially on grass and the beaten tracks on South Downs walk paths!”

Throughout Fiona’s pregnancy with Joshua, she knew that something was not right.

“I was complaining of no movement throughout my pregnancy, so, at eight months pregnant I went for a private scan.

“They soon rushed us for an MRI scan where we found out that Joshua had brain damage due to Toxoplasmosis.”

Toxoplasmosis is an infection that can damage a baby’s eyes, nervous system, skin, and ears.

“We discovered that Joshua’s brain had started deteriorating due to the Toxoplasmosis,” Fiona said, “and that he would die during birth or a few hours after labour.”

Joshua was stillborn in May 2018 and the family soon found out that the Toxoplasmosis not only affected Joshua’s brain, but his skin too.

At this difficult time, the family were supported by their local children’s hospice, Chestnut Tree House, in Angmering, West Sussex, where they were able to spend some special time with Joshua and say goodbye in their own way.

“I will forever be grateful for Chestnut Tree House, they gave me time to spend with Joshua and do all the things I’ve done with my other children, read a book, change his clothes and spend time cuddling him,” Fiona added.

“The staff were incredible, they had so much respect, not only to me but for Joshua too. It was the simple things that made such a difference. They would talk to him, spend time with him, and even knock on the door before entering the room.

“I don’t think we would have got through what we have been through without Chestnut Tree House. They gave us the strength to pull through in such a difficult time.”

So far Benjamin has raised more than £1,600. To donate to his challenge, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/benjamin-denman