Memorial ride for Chichester girls

Rachel and Rebecca Cookson were cared for at Chesnut Tree House'CONTRIBUTED PICTURE SUS-140916-160000001
Rachel and Rebecca Cookson were cared for at Chesnut Tree House'CONTRIBUTED PICTURE SUS-140916-160000001

A CYCLING team from a church in Brighton are raising money in memory of two little girls from Chichester.

Kieron O’Brien and Stephen Sharpe of St Joseph’s and St Francis Catholic Church will take on a 100km ride for the Cookson family, who lost their two daughters to a degenerative neurological disorder called Late Infantile Batten’s disease.

Rachel and Rebecca Cookson were both cared for at Chestnut Tree House, a children’s hospice which offered the family ‘invaluable’ support.

Helen Cookson, said: “After diagnosis, Rebecca, my eldest daughter, quickly lost her fine motor skills completely. Despite all this, however, she never lost her personality, cheekiness or mischievous sense of humour. During this time our family received invaluable help from Chestnut Tree House, without which we couldn’t have coped.”

Rebecca died in 2008. Not long after, Rachel started having seizures and her speech began to deteriorate. She kept fighting the disease until the end of November 2012, when she died.

Father Kieron was a regular at Chestnut Tree House during those last nine weeks of Rachel’s life. Having seen first-hand the importance of the hospice to the Cookson family, he signed up for the Chestnut Sussex 100 to help raise funds for the charity.

Find out more at Chesnut Tree House