Teacher’s plea for help to saddle up

Teachers Stuart Johnson  and Howard Jones on their bikes... but they need a tandem to do a charity ride from Manchester to Blackpool.
Teachers Stuart Johnson and Howard Jones on their bikes... but they need a tandem to do a charity ride from Manchester to Blackpool.
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They’ve got their cycling helmets at the ready, the adrenaline pumped and route planned, but there’s just one thing missing - a tandem.

These Park Special School staff are hoping to take on a charity bicycle ride – but are struggling somewhat since the school’s bikes were stolen last year.

Now, Stuart Johnson and Howard Jones are issuing a plea for someone to donate a tandem bike for them to not only raise money on, but with which to teach their pupils about disability sports.

Mr Johnson, a teacher at the school on Whitegate Drive, said: “We want to do the ride on a tandem to raise awareness there are different types of cycling in light of the Paralympics.

“It would be fantastic if someone could loan us a tandem now. It’d be lovely to do something a bit different - that’s what we try to do at Park.”

Since the London Paralympic Games teachers and staff at the school have dedicated hours of their own time to run an Olympic legacy sports group for children.

And before thieves stole four bicycles, worth £300, from the school grounds, and caused £400 of damage to other bikes, the school had a weekly bike club too.

Mr Johnson added: “The children were gutted, really disappointed, and we didn’t have the equipment to carry it on.

“For our youngsters cycling is a good skill, it ticks all the boxes for balance and co-ordination.”

They are now keen to teach them about Paralympic tandem cycling by using it as their method to take on a Manchester to Blackpool ride in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Friends of Park School Charitable Trust.

Staff from the school take on the 60-mile ride each year, last year raising £1,200.

Mr Jones, the school’s assistant site supervisor, said: “Doing the ride on tandem would make it slightly more difficult so I think we could raise more money that way.”

Mr Johnson added: “If anyone has a tandem they could donate to the school the pupils and staff would really appreciate it.

“It would allow us to raise money for two great charities.”

If you can help, contact: (01253) 764130

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