An eight-year-old boy from Collier Row is set to embark on a mammoth 600-kilometre cycle in honour of another youngster who died after a cancer diagnosis.

Ezra-Zion Gooch and his father Sean Gooch, of Collier Row, will set off from Dunkirk, France, on Easter Monday (April 1) with the aim of getting to the German border via Belgium and the Netherlands in just eight days.

Sean, a South African expat, said his son wanted to cycle in memory of six-year-old Amos Chipperfield.

Amos, who attended Squirrels Heath Infant School in Gidea Park, died on April 4 last year.

Amos was treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in March 2023 and knew Ezra from Romford Gospel Plant, which meets in St Edward’s School every Sunday. 

"My son knew him from being at the same church and that was quite a traumatic thing [Amos's death]," Sean said.

"Ezra has a compassionate heart and he's aware he's blessed with good health and the ability to do sport [...] but other children aren't often in that place."

RELATED NEWS: Squirrels Heath Infants school comes together for Amos, 6

Romford Recorder: Now and then: Ezra has been cycling since around the age of 5, his father saidNow and then: Ezra has been cycling since around the age of 5, his father said (Image: Sean Gooch)

The South African expat added that Ezra was keen to support children less fortunate than him, which had motivated his toughest bike ride yet.

Sean said they were aiming to ride 600 kilometres in eight or nine days, having completed 500km in eight or nine weeks in 2021.

Last time, the father and son had to battle difficult conditions.

"It was really cold [on the previous ride] and it snowed badly that year," Sean said. "There was so much ice and snow everywhere."

But the 48-year-old said Ezra was not one for giving up.

"Even as a four-year-old cycling with sleet coming towards him, he was just battling through," Sean said. "He's always known never to give up when something gets challenging or difficult."

Sean and Ezra, who live with mother Claire, a French lecturer at the Open University and sister Joy-Anna, 20, an aspiring actress, aim to be back in the UK on April 10.

The Collier Row father said GOSH was a cause close to his heart, having seen his friends have to cope with the struggle of seeing their children fall ill.

"Your child feels like your world, so when people are faced with difficulty, with a child needing treatment or going through a really difficult time, they need to be able to support their child.

"The child doesn't understand what's happening - it's a really stressful and difficult time for those parents, it's unimaginable what our friends had to go through," Sean added.

Ezra is also riding in support of a seven-year-old from Norfolk he is friends with, who has undergone years of corrective surgery at GOSH.

Romford Recorder: Ezra enjoying the ride in central LondonEzra enjoying the ride in central London (Image: Sean Gooch)

You can donate to Ezra and Sean's fundraiser for GOSH here: