A SCHOOLBOY from Northwich is helping to inspire a new generation of cyclists with his role in national TV advert.

Mackenzie Batey-Gray, 11, appears in Halfords' Christmas campaign, which is centred on the message 'nothing beats a bike' and inspired by the excitement of finding that longed-for bike under the tree on the big day.

Mackenzie's mum Wendy Batey-Gray said: "He's absolutely thrilled with it because they saw 250 children.

"We did a piece for them with him sat on his bike and he had to say who he was, where he lived and a bit about himself, then he put his bike helmet on and rode off.

"We just did it on a camera phone but it helped that he was bothered to sit on his bike – because it was for Halfords and for bikes, which is something that he's into, he decided to go for it."

Mackenzie is in Year Seven at The County High School Leftwich and a member of Stagecoach Theatre Arts.

He signed to Stagecoach's agency in September and it was through the agency that he found out about the advert.

His bike video saw him picked to audition at a skate park in Manchester and eventually go through as one of 15 to film the advert.

Wendy, who chaperoned Mackenzie during the filming, said: "It was an intense two days of filming in Chapel-en-le-Frith with snow machines and beautiful settings.

"There were about 15 children but they ended up not necessarily using all of them.

"Originally Mackenzie was going to be riding the bike but they took him off the bike and said at the time 'it's because he's got a pretty face' which I thought was a strange thing to say about a boy.

"I thought he was going to be cut out but the advert pans on his face and he's ended up having a better part than if he'd been wearing a bike helmet."

Mackenzie, whose acting goals are to play Dr Who or James Bond, got his first bike for Christmas when he was two.

He is now the proud owner of a mountain bike and a BMX, also both Christmas presents.

Wendy said: "It's that traditional thing to get a bike for Christmas – and going out and riding it even if it's snowing or raining."