Six-year-old Newport cyclist rides 50 miles to 'save animals' at favourite zoo

By Rory Smith | Telford | Attractions | Published:

A six-year-old cyclist from Shropshire has pledged to ride 50 miles in 50 days to 'save the animals' at her favourite zoo.

Isla Furniss with her grandfather, Jim Percival

Isla Furniss, of Edgmond, near Newport in Telford, said she was "worried and upset" to hear Chester Zoo was fighting for its future after struggling financially during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The keen biker, who cycled with Newport CC Bike Club every week until coronavirus restrictions were introduced, took it upon herself to cover 50 miles over the rolling hills in 50 days – with the challenge set to end on July 27.

Mother Judie said: "Isla loves cycling and animals, so we combined the both. She said she was really worried and upset when she heard the animals were under threat.

"Her grandad's a keen cyclist as well. We've had some nice bike rides throughout lockdown and it's keeping her occupied. It's been challenging with the weather turning grey recently and being back at school, but she hopes to get some more miles in when she finishes school next week."

Isla Furniss is raising money for the animals at Chester Zoo

With help from her friends and teachers at St Peter's C of E Primary School, Isla has raised more than £400 and hopes to hit £500 before her challenge is done.

Isla's grandfather, Jim Percival, rides with Wrekin Sport and along with his fellow club members, has also been helping Isla reach her goal.

"I think the teachers at school have been a great help to Isla. I know Miss Gainham has been an inspiration and has sponsored her too," said Jodie.


"It's on her school report that she wants to become an aquatic veterinarian and they've adopted a dolphin in her class.

"We're up to about 35 miles now so not too far to go.

"She's getting really good and beats me up all the hills so she keeps us on our toes. It's a shame her cycling club hasn't been going but this has been really good for her competitive wise.

"While out on bike rides she always says 'I'm doing this for the animals' too."

Jodie added: "A big thank you to all the family and friends that have sponsored Isla so far."

To sponsor Isla, visit

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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