Bracklesham Bay 10-year-old's challenge to become youngest person to descend Ben Nevis on a mountain bike

Xavier Watts is taking on the adventure of a lifetime to raise much-needed money for Southampton Children's Hospital Charity and is hoping to bag a world record at the same time.

The 10-year-old mountain biker will be attempting to break a world record. Picture by Adam Stanton.
The 10-year-old mountain biker will be attempting to break a world record. Picture by Adam Stanton.

In May, 10-year-old Xavier, from West Wittering Parochial School, will be attempting to become the youngest person to climb and then descend Ben Nevis — the highest mountain in Britain — on a mountain bike.

Over 4000ft of vertical descent, steep and rocky terrain, poor visibility and icy conditions will all conspire to make this the perfect setting for a truly unique and adrenaline-busting mountain bike adventure.

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Xavier’s dad Sam Watts said: “Now that 2022 is here, both Xavier and I are incredibly excited to kick off the planning, training and fundraising for our world record attempt on Ben Nevis this May.

"Xavier is an incredibly competent mountain biker who rides black grade downhill trails on a weekly basis.

"We have also completed similar adventures on higher mountains in the French Alps so we are confident that we have the experience to safely complete this challenge.”

Xavier's 'obsession' with mountain-biking developed at a young age, and he was even riding a pedal bike before he turned two years old.

Sam said: "It's lucky that he's found a passion so early on."

However, beyond the excitement of completing the adventure, there is a deeper motivation for undertaking it.

The money raised will be donated to Southampton Children's Hospital, where Xavier was treated for a serious and potentially life-threatening kidney disease at just a year old.

Thankfully, Xavier was able to leave the hospital a week after being admitted with nothing but blood pressure medicines to take, and Sam credits the care at Southampton Hospital for his recovery.

He said: "Xavier was given less than a five per cent chance of getting away without quite invasive dialysis. It was a miracle that he got away.

"The staff were exceptional."

Many patients in the ward were not so lucky and two children with the same condition sadly died during the time Xavier was in hospital.

Sam said: “10 years later, both Xavier and I are committed to undertaking a challenge and a fundraising campaign that can help us, in some small way, to say thank you to the amazing staff at Southampton Children’s Hospital who were so instrumental in Xavier’s recovery."

The money raised by the father-son duo will be used to provide more clinical support for children at the hospital.

Sam also stressed the importance of entertainment for the children who have to spend time waiting for their treatment, and hopes to raise enough money to buy the iPads, games and craft supplies to keep the children occupied during such difficult times.

To find out more about Xavier and Sam's challenge of a lifetime, visit: www.1lifeadventures.com/You can also donate via their JustGiving page.