ETHAN Evans is pedalling hard to raise cash for the NHS and celebrate its birthday by cycling 72 miles.

The nine-year-old, who appeared in the Adver when he posted notes to all his neighbours encouraging them to stay safe during the pandemic, is nearly 20 miles into his marathon challenge and he’s already raised £70 of his £500 target.

Ethan, who is riding at least a mile a day around the streets near his home in Griffiths Close, Lower Stratton and wearing blue while he does it, said: “After I had written my notes to the neighbours I decided to do something else to support the NHS.

“I wanted to help because all the staff are doing a really good job with the Covid-19 crisis. They need equipment and other things so they can keep doing their job.

“I’ve already cycled 15 days and it’s been really good. I chose to do 72 days because of its anniversary, I’m quite an active person, I like running and playing football so it seemed like a good idea.”

His mum Heidi said: “He’s a very caring and very friendly boy so when lockdown started he wanted to help in some way. People responded back to his little notes saying it was a lovely thing he was doing.

“You don’t get many nine-year-old boys who want to be outside and active they mostly want to stay indoors. He’s really enjoyed it, he’s such a happy little lad, I’m so proud of him.”

Dad Mark, 48, said: “I’m super proud of him, it was all his own idea and it’s just great.

“He’s always been caring and he’s always wanted to help other people and our neighbours.

“He really wanted to do something to support the NHS heroes. Wearing blue every time was his way of doing that because he is wearing their colour.

“Friends and family have been very supportive of what he’s doing, they encourage him to keep going. He loves sports and is very active but he just wanted to do his little bit right now in such a difficult time.”

The nation marked the NHS’s 72nd birthday on Sunday with a final clap of appreciation. Among those marking the occasion were staff at the Great Western Hospital which lost two of its doctors to the coronavirus.

Tributes were paid to the service by the Prince of Wales, prime minister Boris Johnson and leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer and public buildings including the Central Library were lit up blue.

Anyone wanting to sponsor Ethan can do so at