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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Cumbria bikers in 130-mile trip in aid of family fighting serious illnesses

DOZENS of bikers braved wet weather and slippery roads to complete the first of three events to raise money for a family beset by illness.

Motorcycle enthusiasts gathered at the Old Farmhouse in Priory Road, Ulverston, before heading off on a 130-mile round trip into the Yorkshire Dales.

The charity ride was organised by Holly Bank resident Mike McPhillips, who has held fundraisers each year since the passing of a close friend six years ago.

Past beneficiaries have included St Mary’s Hospice and Help for Heroes, but this year it is Ulverston parents Paul and Clare Coulston receiving a helping hand.

Mr and Mrs Coulston – aged 38 and 37 respectively – have each been diagnosed with life-limiting conditions and the money raised will support them and their two children Evelyn, five, and Finlay, seven.

Mr McPhillips, speaking before the 50-strong procession left the Old Farmhouse, said he was disappointed the weather appeared to have kept a few riders away.

But he said the support in general for not only this event, but an upcoming 14,500ft sky dive and row on Windermere, had been sensational.

“We’ve read about the Coulstons in the Evening Mail and The Advertiser and it’s obviously a very good cause,” he said.

“The local people in town are just unbelievable with their generosity and all raffle prizes and auction prizes they have donated over the years.”

Ulverston mayor Brenda Marr, who waved the chequered flag to get the bikers under way, said she was immensely proud of the way the town rallied around its own in times of crisis.

“This is typical of Ulverston,” she said. “Whatever the occasion, whatever the circumstances – people in Ulverston are generous.

“It’s a very community spirited place and everybody comes together when someone’s in need.”

This year’s fundraising has taken on extra-special significance for Mr Phillips, who will step down from his role as chief organiser in July.

The 49-year-old said he wished to thank his wife, Ange, and Old Farmhouse landlords Mandy Boyle and Neal Southworth for all their support over the years.

“It’s basically a full-time job on top of a full-time job,” he said. “While I’ll be stepping back from organising things, I’ll still be involved in the events.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so by contacting the Old Farmhouse on 01229 480324.

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