Bikers and mascot Jeff Da Bear complete Blackpool charity ride for Batten Disease awareness

A mascot teddy bear made the final leg of a UK wide tour from Blackpool back to his home in Accrington having raised just over £10,000 to help the family of a child suffering a rare disease.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 3:45 pm
Darren Haslam with Jeff Da Bear and the bikers who rode from Blackpool in the final leg of their UK tour for Batten Disease awareness

Jeff Da Bear and a team of generous bikers have spent the last six weeks touring the country in relay rides to raise awareness about Batten Disease a rare neurodegenerative disease.

Organised by Darren Haslam and pal David Howell, the bear and bikers left Blackpool Cenotaph in convoy to head back to Accrington.

It was an emotional journey which led to a huge welcome home from crowds of well wishers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Darren Haslam and David Howell

It all started when Darren heard about a five-year-old Jeffrey Charlesworth, who lives in Accrington, who had been diagnosed with the disease.

He wanted to do something to help raise awareness and money for the youngster and his family. They also wanted to spread the word about the Batten Disease Family Association.

He said: “It took off exponentially! We decided to use a teddy bear for the rides. It went from there really, we asked fellow bikers to join us and he’s been all over.

“He’s been up to the Orkney Islands, on a plane and even received a certificate from Logan Air to say he’d flown there.”

The first leg of the tour saw Jeff Da Bear ride with his biker from Rhyl to Aberystwyth, a local rider did that stint on his own. But between other places, convoys of bikers have clocked up the miles.

Whilst in Blackpool at the weekend, the bikers took the bear to see the sights, eat fish and chips and they even met the band Ferocious Dog who were performing in Fleetwood.

Darren added: “ It was a very special day, and I think everyone riding shed a tear as we got back to Accrington."

The money will be used for Jeffrey and his family, part of which will fund a trip to Lapland at Christmas. Donate here