A GROUP of more than 500 bike riders have been named the country’s best charitable team.
Last year the JJ100 raised more than £100,000 for Joining Jack, the charity set up by former Wigan rugby player Andy Johnson to raise funds for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) from which his young son Jack was diagnosed with three years ago.
Organiser Paul Holden travelled to London last week where he accepted an award from fund-raising website Just Giving after his tiresome and selfless work to ensure the cycle was a success.
But while he was rewarded with a trophy for his efforts, just a week earlier his £1,600 bike was stolen from his garage in Orrell.
Determined not to let it overshadow the remarkable achievement, Paul travelled down to London and accepted the award on behalf of the 505 riders who raised the six-figure sum by completing the course around Manchester and Cheshire.
“I got an email in June from Just Giving saying I was shortlisted and into the final three,” he said.
“We got to the awards night in London not having a clue we had won until it was announced on the night, it was great to be honest I was just so proud.
“The simple fact is that I stood alone on the stage to accept the award but in truth, I was accepting it for 505 people who took part in our event.”
The bike ride took place last year but a follow-up event this year took the total fund to more than £140,000.
Just weeks after it though, on the night September 22/ 23 Paul’s expensive bike was taken from his Orrell home.
He said: “They forced the lock on the garage door and took my bike and a hybrid that I have a child seat on.
“My main bike was worth £1,600 and the other was worth about £400. I’m now without a bike and I’ve contacted the police.
“I wasn’t able to ride for quite a while because I had a bad back injury and had to have injections.
“I’ve waited for that to kick in, got my new bike and I was riding better than I ever have been doing, the bike was a cracker.
“It was miles better than before and now some rat has nicked it.”
There are a couple of distinctive features to Paul’s bike which could be recognised.
He added: “When we were doing the Joining Jack bike ride I put it down against the fence while I had a drink.
“It slipped and there was a four inch long white scratch across the top bar near to the seat.
“So as well as having my name on the front that scratch will still be there too.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call 101.