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Volunteer-run bike scheme raises £100k

Words by Smiley Team

A bike recycling scheme run by volunteers has raised more than £100,000 for local charities across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

The scheme, which started in late 2018, is the brainchild of Treetops Hospice volunteer, Paul Wilcox. The 67-year-old from Breaston, and a team of volunteers, collect donated bikes from the local area, then sell them in return for a donation.

Since it began, thousands of bikes have been restored with proceeds going to local charities including Treetops Hospice, the Rotary Club of Long Eaton, the Step by Step Project for people with dementia and St John’s Food Bank. Some bikes have also been donated to local causes such as women’s refuges and Ukrainian refugees.

"We have a great team of volunteers which keeps everything running," said Paul. "My wife, Pauline, has been a volunteer at Treetops for over ten years and she helps with the admin, which can be pretty time consuming."

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Paul said since he was a child, he has always been interested in how bikes work and often rescued old bikes to renovate. 

“We receive a whole range of donations and some of which we thought were scrap, have turned out to be very collectable," he said. “Some of the bikes need far too much work to tackle but nothing goes to waste. Parts are stripped and saved for repairs, and any remnants weighed in for scrap."

His close friend Margaret Gregory deals with all the sales, which are done via Facebook Marketplace. "It’s no mean feat for someone well into her late 70s - she is often dealing with sales, repairing and cleaning bikes and so on, late into the evening," he said. 

“David, a neighbour, helps me with the mechanical refurbishment. Another friend, Sam, recognises if bikes are worth more for their spare parts and sells the more specialised bikes on eBay.”

Staggered with the success

Paul, who received a Derbyshire Beacon of Hope Award in recognition of his incredible fundraising efforts, is staggered with the success of the scheme. 

“Raising over £100,000 is way beyond anything we anticipated in the early days of the scheme," he said. “We get to meet so many lovely people who are happy that either their old bike, or their donation, is going to such worthwhile causes.”

Treetops Hospice have received over £60,000 from hugely successful scheme. Adela Appleby, Treetops Head of Community Relationships, added: “With every bike recycled and sold, the team are helping us to care for terminally ill patients and their families in the local community.

“Their support makes such a big difference, and we cannot thank them enough. We’re delighted they’ve reached this wonderful milestone!”

Inspired to act?

DONATE: The bike recycling scheme accepts bikes and trikes of any age, condition and size, and local collection is available. To donate a bike, email details to Paul at [email protected].

SUPPORT: You can choose to find ways to support Treetops Hospice by finding ways to get involved on their website

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