Crowds gathered at Accrington Stanley to greet homecoming bikers from their month-long charity relay-ride around the coast of mainland Britain.
Jeffrey’s Biker Journey has been fundraising for Jeffrey Charlesworth, from Accrington, who has been diagnosed with Batten Disease.
The ride saw toy bear ‘Jeff DaBear’ travel more than 2,500 miles - including to Land’s End and John O’Groats - shared between more than 300 bikers over five weekends of local riding legs, culminating in Sunday’s triumphant ride from Blackpool back to Accrington. Participants included Jeffrey’s dad Andy and grandad Colin, neither of whom rode before the event.
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Darren Haslam, from Church, who came up with the idea and co-organised the route with David Howell, said it achieved its three broad targets - earning £10,000 to help support the family, raising awareness of the nervous system disease, and supporting Jeffrey, Andy and Jeffrey’s mum Sheryl.
“The reception we had for the guys at Accrington Stanley was brilliant,” said Darren.
“I had about 75 bikers behind me and as we came back into Accrington and we turned the corner and saw that crowd, every single biker burst into tears. Everybody who has got involved has got so emotionally attached - it hasn’t just been about picking up a teddy bear. It’s as if that bear has become the embodiment of Jeffrey himself.”
During his travels Jeff experienced the world’s shortest commercial flight - less than two miles - in the Orkneys, had a red carpet meet and greet with the Mayor of Blackpool, completed a Parkrun, and shared the stage with rock band Ferocious Dog in Fleetwood.
Sunday’s homecoming event, organised by Viv Carrington, was attended by around 200 people, and saw a funfair, stalls, and entertainment from Accrington Pipe Band and a brass band.
Darren added that they are hoping to send the family to Lapland for Christmas, and will seek to make Jeffrey’s Bikers a registered charity and repeat the relay next year to support other good causes.
For more information visit the Jeffreys Biker Journey Facebook group.
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