AN adventurous bear and three kind-hearted bikers are setting off a mammoth European mission to raise funds for a cancer charity.
Byker Bear has developed a large following on social media in recent months as the new mascot of the Chyrelle Addams Cancer Support Trust. The well-dressed teddy has accompanied volunteers from the Crook-based charity to engagements all over the country. He has even been out and about with the Police Interceptors, and has tried his hand at everything from sewing and darts, to flying a plane.
But later this year, Byker Bear will embark on his biggest adventure to date, a sponsored motorcycle ride across Europe. He will be accompanied by bikers Trevor Atkinson, Tony Hurworth and Steve Armstrong, from the Willington area.
The Quest for Cancer will begin on Sunday, June 3, and will see the fundraisers travel through 30 European countries in 13 days. A picture of Byker Bear will be taken in each country and posted on Facebook.
The bikers completed a similar charity challenge for Macmillan in 2010 and they came up with their latest fundraising idea at the pub.
“The more drinks we had, the more countries we added to the list,” joked Mr Atkinson.
“I lost my wife to cancer in 2004 and I know what fantastic work Macmillan do, which is why we wanted to support them. We are all getting a bit older and we thought if we are going to do another one, we better do it now. We wanted to support a local charity this time and the Trust does amazing work in the community.”
Next week, on Tuesday, February 20, an official launch event will take place in Crook Market Place. Durham’s Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg will attend between noon and 2pm, and guests can enter a competition to guess how many miles the bikers will travel and buy ‘name the bear’ raffle tickets.
There are also plans to create a series of children’s books starring the fluffy hero.
Charity founder Patricia Greensmith said: “I think what they are doing is amazing. We are so grateful. The money raised will help cover ground fees of our holiday home, which is for cancer patients and their families.”