Family of injured Ryan stunned by ‘brilliant’ public response

Mark picks up the donated cycle helmets from the Standard's office.
Mark picks up the donated cycle helmets from the Standard's office.

The father of a teen who is battling for his health in hospital after a crash on his bike while not wearing a helmet, has spoken of his “amazement” at the way the community has rallied round ahead of special events this weekend.

In the weeks since Ryan Smith came off his bike, his family’s campaign to make cycle helmets compulsory has been gathering momentum - with appearances on ITV’s This Morning and interviews in national tabloids just some of their appearances.

And the continuing response from the public has left the family dumbstruck.

A couple who wished to remain anoynmous even popped into the Standard’s office just last week to donate 12 brand new cycle helmets to the cause.

The Standard duly handed them over to Ryan’s dad Mark, who said he was touched by the couple’s moving gesture.

“The response has been brilliant - it’s just immense,” he said.

And the Foundation set up by Mark and the family to raise awareness of bike safety is continuing to go from strength-to-strength.

This weekend they have a host of activities lined up to raise money.

It all starts around 6am on Sunday with a charity bike ride from Chapel St Leonard’s Village Hall to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital and back again.

The response has been so strong that Mark says over 250 riders have already confirmed, with more joining up all the time.

A charity football match is also planned for 1pm in Chapel St Leonards after the cyclists return.

And the activities kick up another notch at 6pm, with an evening of entertainment and a fundraising auction in the Grange pub in Chapel.

Phenomenal auction prizes have been donated for the evening’s auction by well-meaning businesses and individuals - including a week’s rental of a three bed villa in Spain, another holiday to Tenerife, a ride in an RNLI lifeboat, TVs and more.

The evening will also feature a barbecue, magician, children’s entertainment and more.

Elsewhere the Foundation’s Facebook page has already amassed 11,700 fans.

And the hope is that the campaign will be able to get 100,000 people to sign a petition calling for a debate on cycle safety in parliament.

For more information about the weekend’s events call Sam Jessop on 07456 569 390 or Mark Smith on 07771 556 541.

Meanwhile, Ryan continues to make small progress in his recovery and remains stable in hospital.