A Ribble Valley brother’s love inspires bike ride

Peter and Denise Humphreys are pictured with Richard Paige (Green Jersey) as they prepare for their Lands End to John O'Groats cycle in memory of Stephen.
Peter and Denise Humphreys are pictured with Richard Paige (Green Jersey) as they prepare for their Lands End to John O'Groats cycle in memory of Stephen.

A RIBBLE Valley man is set to cycle the length of the country using his late brother’s restored bike.

Chatburn’s Peter Humphreys and his wife, Denise, will ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in September to help fight testicular cancer, from which Peter’s younger brother, Stephen, died 30 years ago.

A former pupil of St Augustine’s RC High School, Billington, Stephen was only 27 when he died and had bravely fought testicular cancer for six years. Stephen, who had just qualified as a male nurse at Airedale General Hospital in Steeton, was also celebrating his engagement to his fiancée, Wendy, on the day he discovered he had cancer.

In December Peter, who served in the RAF for 23 years, celebrated his 60th birthday and in the weeks leading up to this milestone he decided to set himself a riding challenge in Stephen’s memory.

And to make the challenge even more poignant, Peter, who is a process operator at Clitheroe firm Johnson Matthey, decided to use his brother’s old bike to complete the challenge.

Used and abused over the years, the old bike has been fully restored at Clitheroe bike shop the Green Jersey, which has carried out the restoration using as many original parts as possible.

“One of Stephen’s pride and joys in life was his bike, which he had built to his own specifications, and whenever his health allowed he would be out cycling and enjoying the countryside,” Peter explained.

“I’ve used and abused Stephen’s bike over the past 30 years, but I always wanted to restore it to its full glory.”

The Green Jersey’s owner, Richard Paige, explained how Peter had dismantled the bike and brought it in as a “box full of bits”.

“It has been refurbished into a modern, but retro fully functional bike again,” he said.

“Because it was so old a lot of the parts required were not available anymore and so I had to source lots and customise off-the-shelf parts. It was a case of adapting stuff to make it fit. It was challenging, but fun!”

Richard, who carried out all the labour on the bike free-of-charge, added: “I was happy to help such a good cause and hope they raise lots of money for their challenge.”

Andrew Potts, who with his son, Charlie, runs the vehicle graphics business Grafx alongside his other company FX Motorsport in Clitheroe, has also supported the fund-raising challenge by designing all the logos and graphics for the bike.

He will also label T-shirts for the cycle challenge and has made a donation.

Peter’s wife, who works in accounts at Steadplan, Clitheroe, was originally going to act as a support driver. However, she later decided to join Peter on the ride, using her own bike which was hand built at the Green Jersey.

The couple, who have three sons, will set off in September and hope to complete the challenge within 14 days.

The former distance runners are now out training on a daily basis and will be taking part in various other distance rides such, as the cross country coast to coast route, in preparation.

“The charity we’ve chosen to raise money for is the Christie Hospital, Manchester, one of the countries leading cancer treatment centres. The money raised will go directly to a department specialising in ‘men matters’, testicular and prostate cancers,” explained Peter.

“As was the case with Stephen, testicular cancer often affects younger men, but unfortunately this department is one of the least funded so every little helps.”

To donate through the couple’s JustGiving page visit: http://www.justgiving.com/Peter-Humphreys1