Boys take on ride of their lives

Left, David Timperley (15) and Nathan Smith (12) who are doing the Preston Guild cycle ride to raise money for St John's Hospice, pictured at Alexandra House, Lancaster
Left, David Timperley (15) and Nathan Smith (12) who are doing the Preston Guild cycle ride to raise money for St John's Hospice, pictured at Alexandra House, Lancaster

Two schoolboys have taken on one of their biggest challenges yet to take part in a bike ride this weekend to raise money for St John’s Hospice.

David Timperley, 15, and his friend Nathan Smith, 12, will be cycling the 21 mile Preston Guild Wheel route on Saturday, and have already raised more than £500.

David, who lives in Lancaster but attends Ashton Community Science College in Preston, has been deaf since birth and was taught to ride a bike in just five months by Nathan, who is autistic.

The boys decided to raise money for the hospice after visiting its Slyne Road centre.

Loyne School pupil Nathan, from Morecambe, said: “We went to see the hospice and they told us about the work that they do there and we wanted to help them.”

Debbie Shanley, assistant manager at Alexandra House in Lancaster, an overnight break service run by Lancashire County Council which David and Nathan attend, will accompany David and Nathan on the ride, which is expected to take around three hours.

The trio will also be accompanied along the route by others who will cycle short distances with them.

The ride will form part of David and Nathan’s silver Gateway Award, a Mencap scheme similar to the Duke of Edinburgh.

New bikes were bought with funds from Alexandra House’s Friends and Family charity.

David said: “I told Debbie I couldn’t cycle so we tried it for the first time but I kept crashing, and so Nathan offered to assist me.

“From there we started to build up our progress and now we can do 21 miles.”

David started learning how to ride a bike earlier this year at Williamson Park, progressing to the cycle track when he had gained confidence.

David said: “I am really proud of myself.”

Debbie said: “David’s disability means his lack of balance and coordination are a challenge in themselves. We are extremely proud of what they have achieved.

“Other children at Alexandra House now want to learn to ride a bike.”

David’s mum Jenny said: “I am extremely proud of David; it’s a real inspiration that he is doing this for the hospice.”

Nathan’s mum Nicola added: “I am so proud that Nathan has been helping to support David.”

To donate to the cause, go to www.justgiving.com/Debbie-Shanley