A cancer survivor who has raised thousands of pounds for charity has been reunited with his stolen bike and gifted a new one, after the community rallied to support him in his hour of need.
Shaun Dingsdale, from Leigh, said he was “devastated” to find that his trusty bike - which was given to him as a gift from his brother - had been taken from outside his place of work last week.
The 47-year-old dad-of-one, who battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for two years, has raised more than £10,000 for cancer charities by cycling, running, skydiving and mountain climbing since 2014. He was given the all clear seven years ago.
He started his fund-raising bid following advice from his then 10-year-old daughter, who gave him the inspiration to “give something back”.
Shaun, who only recently started his job at Lakeview Care Home in Leigh, said that the bike has seen him through some of his toughest challenges, including a 140-mile bike ride from Liverpool to Leeds and back to his home.
On leaving work last week, Shaun went to get the bike to ride home, but found that thieves had cut through the two locks he left on to secure it.
“I never thought I was going to see it again,” he said. “I was devastated.
“It’s very sentimental to me as it was a gift from my brother when I started fundraising.”
On hearing about the theft, Shaun’s old school friend, Estelle Jones - who now lives in Qatar - set up a fund-raising page to try and get him a new bike.
However in the meantime, his work colleagues at Lakeview discovered who had unwittingly bought the stolen bike, and clubbed together to get it back for him.
“The staff at Lakeview surprised me by bringing me into the home on my day off, to give it me back,” he said.
“The biggest surprise was not them getting my bike back, it was because I’d only been working there for six weeks and they all went out of their way to do this for me.
“I couldn’t believe they did all of this for me.
“As soon as I started this job they made me feel so comfortable, like I was one of them straight away.”
Following the surprise revelation, Estelle contacted people who had donated to the fund, all of whom refused to take their money back and opted to give Shaun a gift for all of the charitable work he has put in over the years.
Shaun has purchased a brand new bike so he can embark on countless new fund-raising ventures, whilst still having a backup plan if one becomes damaged.
“The support and comments I got from everyone was so nice that they got me in tears,” he said.
“I cant thank everyone enough for everyone’s kind donations, offers, and support, this will all fuel me to do even more fundraising, and to keep on volunteering for The Christie, and of course being there for as many people as I can.”