Rugby stars launch charity bike ride in aid of injured star
By Teddington People | Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 13:21
London Irish fly-half Shane Geraghty was one of the rugby stars attending the launch party for the Surrey Classic Bike Ride, a charity event aiming to raise money for Esher player Paul Barker.
London Irish's Shane Geraghty at the launch party for the Surrey Classic Bike Ride, raising money for Esher player Paul Barker.
Paul suffered a badly broken leg in 2012 but when a follow-up operation uncovered a rare form of cancer, it was amputated so the tumour did not spread. Fellow team mates including Darren Clayton have organised the 100, 85 or 55 mile charity cycling event, which will follow the Olympic route to raise funds for a new prosthetic leg for Paul.
Well known faces from rugby came out in a show of support at the launch event, held at the G!ro Cycle Cafe last Thursday in Esher, and some will take part in the ride to be held on 29 June.
Talking about the race, Shane Geraghty commented: "It's for a great cause, riding for Paul. I live in Claygate and the rugby community tends to work together. Rugby's a tough game and people tend to come together and help each other out. It should be a great day.
"I was hoping to ride but I've got pre-season training the next day. I'd encourage people to come out and support. And there's still time to register if you're up for it. I'll definitely be out there supporting on the day. My brother, Kieran will be riding. He's just got back from a London-Paris ride. My wife might ride too."
And, speaking about the route itself, he said: "What a great place to do it. The Surrey Hills, the landscape and the countryside around here are incredible. Get involved, it's a great cause, you'll have a great day out on the roads and you never know who you might meet. Go out there and enjoy it."
Visibly moved, and with a week left of chemotherapy, Paul Barker said: "I've been really humbled by everyone's response. You meet all these people through the years, you play with them and you don't think anything bad's going to happen and when it does, you never think people are going to group together as much as they have. People have been so generous with their time as well as their money."
Paul will spend the next month in rehab, training five days a week. He said: "I feel like I'm reaching the end of a long, hard six months. I'm very positive about things moving forward and would like to thank anyone taking part and coming out to support."
Register, donate or support the event here.