Bikers' £16,500 donation to Myton Hospice

By Matthew Bates Wednesday 07 November 2012 Updated: 12/11 09:16

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Buy photos » Phil Baylis is joined by fellow bikers, friends and family to present the cheque to hospice fund-raiser Claire McDowell and nursing assistant Gurinder Cheema. 45.012.015.cov.jm2 (www.buyphotos247.com)

A MOTORBIKE ride across Europe may have ended in disaster, but it raised nearly £16,500 for charity.

The journey to cities twinned with Coventry was cut short when Phil Baylis was hit by a car in Hungary.

He suffered a broken shoulder, wrist, rib and finger.

But three months on from the crash, the Keresley dad has handed over a huge cheque to Myton Hospice. The hospice had cared for his mum before she died.

Phil told the Observer he had no regrets but he hoped to one day finish the journey.

“There have been various things that kept tripping us up and making us think it wasn’t going to happen,” he said.

“But I’ve just had to ignore them and keep thinking ‘no, I’ve made this promise to my mum - I’m going to do it, whether I raise £50 or £10,000’.

“That’s what kept me going. The accident was a sad way for it to end from my point of view. I still beat myself up now that I haven’t finished it because I told my mum that’s what I would do.

“It would have been her birthday last week - I went down to the crem and put a few flowers down and muttered a few words, saying I hope she was proud of what we have achieved.

“She’d call me a bloody idiot for taking it on in the first place but family have said she would be proud.”

The trip saw three generations of family involved, with Phil’s son Philip also on his bike and dad John in the support van.

Other team members Amy Abrams and Laura Wilkinson helped them on their way, and Phil said there was a huge list of supporters who had made the journey possible.

“I’m so proud of the people who have made this happen,” he added.

“I just wanted to raise the money and help people - everybody has got behind me.”

Among those to show their support - and become the backbone of the project - were Michelle Clifford, who helped with fund-raising, children Renee, Lacey, Siena and Shakira, wife Cath and key supporter Clive Skelhon from Coventry Transport Museum.

Other groups involved include Baz Price and Ian Phillips at the Motorcycle Action Group, Triumph Owners’ Club, Cross Keys MCC, Antelope Motorcycle Club and all sponsors and people who have donated to the cause.

Myton’s community fund-raiser Claire McDowell added the charity was amazed at the effort Phil and Philip had put in.

“They worked so hard to support us and we were very concerned to hear about Phil’s accident. We are glad to hear he is feeling better now.

“We need to raise £7.2 million a year to keep our three hospices running and this money means we can continue caring for our patients and their families when they need us most.”

Phil and Philip's journey

November 2011 - Phil and Philip announce their plan to visit European cities twinned with Coventry in a bid to raise £10,000 for Myton Hospice, after the centre cared for Phil's mum before she died.

March 2012 - An Easter Extravaganza is held at the Old Shepherd pub to mark the fund-raising halfway mark. It sees a weekend of live music and entertainment, including a wheelie machine, gyroscope and the pair getting waxed to raise cash.

August - The final fund-raising push sees a pub crawl around Walsgrave - and the duo riding around Coventry Bees' Brandon track. Just £1,500 is needed to hit target.

August 11 - The 5,000-mile journey begins. Bikers join the team as they set off from Coventry Transport Museum.

August 20 - Just over a week into the trip and disaster strikes - Phil is knocked from his bike by a car near the Hungarian border, breaking his shoulder, wrist, ribs and finger. The trek is finished and days later he is flown home for more treatment at University Hospital.

November 3 - All the money raised from the trip is counted and handed over to Myton Hospice. Nearly £16,500 is donated to the charity.

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