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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Ulverston dad with rare condition finishes gruelling ride

AN iron-willed family man battling motor neurone disease brushed off a broken collar bone to complete a charity bike ride on Monday.

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ON A MISSION: From left, Alan Coulston, Robin Graham, Jonny Riley, Ben Jones, Paul Coulston, Craig Maclean and Jeremy Aveyard outside the Ancient Unicorn pub, Barnard Castle, during their charity bike ride. SUBMITTED

Ulverston couple Paul Coulston, 37, and his wife Clare made national headlines after they were both diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.

Despite the family’s circumstances, the father-of-two decided to challenge himself to a three-day bike ride to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The ride went from Walney to just outside Sunderland. But disaster struck on Saturday evening when Mr Coulston, who is deputy headteacher at St George’s School in Barrow, fell while walking to a restaurant during an overnight stop in Kendal – and broke his collar bone. He said: “My leg sometimes doesn’t raise properly because of my condition, and I caught my toe on a cobblestone. I knew straight away I had done something bad. I think I went several shades of grey!”

Even after going to A&E and being told he had suffered a broken clavicle, Mr Coulston decided to press on.

“I thought at first it was over, but on Sunday morning we decided to strap my shoulder and carry on. I didn’t really have to use my shoulder too much to move the handlebars because of the electric bike I was using, but I fell off about 15 times and that was sore,” he said.

“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and family. I struggled on the last stretch but it felt amazing to finish it.”

As well as the injuries, Mr Coulston had to deal with technical trouble after his electric bike failed. He said: “The bike was lent to us by the Electric Mountain company in Bowness. They were brilliant, when they heard they shut up shop, drove out and gave me another bike.”

After setting an original target of £1,000, the total amount raised is now more than double that.

“I’m just so proud of all my friends and family,” said Mr Coulston. “I wanted to focus on what I can still do while I’m fit enough.”

More fundraising will take place after Mr Coulston’s cousin, Phil Thompson, from Sunderland, arranged an 80-mile ride from Fleetwood to Barrow, set to take place on November 17.

Mr Thompson, 28, said: “We decided to start in Fleetwood, because that’s where Clare is from originally, and finish in Barrow because that’s wear Paul is from. We wanted to connect the towns.”

Money raised will go to various causes, including helping the Coulston family. See www.coulstonfundraising.co.uk/fleetwood-to-barrow-bike-ride-17th-November-2012.

Have your say

Well done Paul- you are an inspiration.

Posted by Elizabeth Wyborn on 4 November 2012 at 18:18

Well done!!!

Posted by Dave Coram on 31 October 2012 at 18:50

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