A CHARITY cyclist from Wigan whose bike was stolen hours before a major fund-raising ride is back in the saddle thanks to a generous donation.
Philip Tomlinson was stunned to find his bicycle had been taken in the early hours of the morning before the annual Manchester to Blackpool money-spinning ride in July.
The Lowton 45-year-old, who rides the 63-mile route each year in aid of Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH), was gutted the thieves’ actions meant he was unable to add to the thousands of pounds he has raised for the Hindley-based charity.
However, Halfords in Wigan has now stepped in to get him back on two wheels with the gift of a new Boardman bike presented at the hospice’s Kildare Street headquarters.
Philip said: “It was such a shame that I didn’t get to ride in this year’s event but I’m absolutely thrilled that Halfords has kindly stepped in to replace my bike and I’m really looking forward to getting straight back in the saddle to train for next year’s event.”
Keen cyclist Philip has been doing the Manchester to Blackpool event for many years, with his last seven rides all raising money for WLH in memory of his father in law Brian Yates.
The cycle ride from Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground to the finish line on the famous Blackpool promenade is one of the hospice’s biggest fund-raising events of the year, bringing in tens of thousands of pounds to go towards its state-of-the-art palliative care.
The charity said it was deeply disappointed the offenders took Philip’s bike before the ride but expressed its gratitude to Halfords for helping him get back on the road for good causes. Director of corporate services Mike Parr said: “We are so grateful to our cyclists, who raise a significant amount of money for the hospice every year through this event.
“It was such a shame that Philip wasn’t able to take part this year but I am delighted that Halfords has stepped in to help.
“So many local businesses support the bike ride by offering volunteers, support vehicles and refreshments, which makes a massive difference to our riders and enables us to raise as much money as possible to keep our services running.”