THE man at the helm of hospital care in the county has thrown his weight behind a 500-mile bike ride in memory of a baby boy from Oxfordshire.

Gearing up to ride 200 miles for charity is Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive officer Bruno Holthof.

It comes as part of the #TOO500 cycle event touring 500-miles between numerous children's hospitals to fundraise in support of their tireless work.

The event is being organised by children's health charity Thinking of Oscar in memory of one-year-old Oscar Cole who died suddenly five years ago.

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The youngster died of a brain injury on June 19, 2014, having contracted Encephalitis, a rare condition that causes inflammation of the brain.

His parents David and Hannah Cole, of Kirtlington near Bicester, have fundraised to help improve children's healthcare ever since, and marking the charity's five year anniversary dreamt up the 500-mile fundraiser.

Dr Holthof, who will take one two legs of the gruelling challenge, said: “I am thrilled to be taking part in this very special 500 mile event that links up children’s hospitals across the UK.

"Thinking of Oscar’s passion for improving care for children in hospital and their commitment to funding linked up innovations is truly inspiring.

"Working together with Oxford Hospitals Charity we know this event will make a real difference to young patients here, and across the UK."

Dr Holthof will be joined by seven other supporters of Oxford Children's Hospital Charity who have also signed up.

It is hoped the event will raise £500,000 to invest in new equipment across six children's hospitals which the cyclist will visit including setting off from Oxford Children's Hospital.

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Other hospitals along the way include Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital, before finishing at Blenheim Palace.

Sarah Vaccari, from Oxford Children's Hospital Charity, said: "Thinking of Oscar is such a forward-thinking charity, who through such sad circumstances are determined to make a difference to thousands of young children treated in hospitals.

"As well as Bruno, we have seven more local supporters of the Oxford Children’s Hospital joining the Thinking of Oscar crew as they take part in this epic 500 miler.

"We wish all the riders the very best of luck and send our thanks to Hannah and David for such inspired support."

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