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Pink pedallers beat Hurricane Bertha to raise £12,000 for Finsbury eye charity

Ella and her mother, Elly Chapple. Ella and her mother, Elly Chapple.

Monday, August 18, 2014
11:19 AM

Twenty riders clad in baby-pink lycra braved the elements to raise nearly £12,000 for Moorfields Eye Hospital.

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The Fairy Queen Dream Team, as the team is known, raised the sum after completing the 2014 Ride London to Surrey 100 on Sunday in support of research into Aniridia, a rare genetic eye disease that can lead to loss of sight.

Elly Chapple, 38, whose daughter Ella, 7, suffers from the disease, set up a fundraising campaign called Shine a Light on Aniridia four years ago to help raise awareness of the condition.

Her husband James, 40, was riding with the Fairy Queen Dream Team.

Mrs Chapple said: “This research means everything to us; while there are no guarantees over Ella’s sight we will do everything we can to protect her.”

So far £95,000 has been raised for research into Aniridia at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

This sum, part match-funded by Moorfields Eye Hospital, in City Road, Finsbury, financed the appointment of Dr Victoria Tovell, a research scientist investigating the condition.

Dr Tovell now works alongside existing researcher Professor Julie Daniels in exploring the significance of stem cell activity in Aniridia sufferers.

It was nearly three years ago when Mrs Chapple approached Professor Daniels about her research, which had just been refused funding by a UK research council.

Mrs Chapple said: “I asked Julie how much it would cost and when she told me, I just knew that we had to raise the money.”

She added: “Every year her work gets bigger and bigger, we get regular updates on her work and this year we took the riders along to the lab to help personalise their efforts.”

Next year will be the Dream Team’s biggest yet; they hope to have 100 riders cycling in the team’s signature baby-pink kit.

The Fairy Queen Dream Team formed part of a wider team of 85 cyclists riding through the rain and raising money for Moorfields Eye Charity, the hospital’s charitable arm.

To donate to the Fairy Queen Dream Team, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/aniridia.

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