A FEARLESSLY energetic 80-year-old has cycled 80 miles on a trike to help children with serious illnesses.

Theo Ellert began her epic challenge on her 80th birthday during the coronavirus lockdown and completed her last mile on Saturday, outside The Seaview Stores in East Preston, the village near Littlehampton where she lives.

The spritely octogenarian is the founder of Miracles, a charity based in Littlehampton which supports families living in poverty and helps them through crises, including life-limiting illnesses.

The charity offers respite breaks to families with children recovering from treatment in holiday caravans in Selsey.

Theo said: “All our fundraising efforts have been severed by coronavirus so that’s why I thought of doing the cycle.

“Our caravans cost us £25,000 every year to run and because of the pandemic there’s so much to be done now with sterilising them. All the children are very sick and we cannot allow them to be at risk.

“We’ve already raised more than £12,000 and people around here have been amazing – Sussex has really stepped up for me – but we’re still fundraising and aiming to bring in £25,000.”

Theo originally founded Miracles in Bosnia in 1994 to help children affected by the Bosnian War.

She said: “I saw the suffering around me there, which was unbelievable. We set up the charity for landmine victims, but when I got home I found there was almost as much suffering here.”

Theo has been doing her tricycle ride over an 80-day period in East Preston and said she has built up a following in the area.

She said: “People did look at me a little oddly and often don’t believe I’m 80, which is encouraging. Not many people of 80 would attempt this – I think I’m a one off.”

To donate, go to virginmoneygiving.com and search Theo Ellert Trike Trek.