Pushbike Paul receives Beacon of Hope Award after raising thousands of pounds for charity

Published on: Monday, 13th September 2021

A fundraising hero known as ‘Pushbike Paul’ has been recognised for his incredible efforts with a Derbyshire Beacon of Hope Award.

Paul Wilcox, from Breaston, has raised thousands of pounds for Risley-based Treetops Hospice with a charity bike recycling scheme he started in September 2018.  The 66-year-old collects donated bikes from the local area, makes them road-worthy, then sells them in return for a donation to the hospice, which supports adults with life-limiting conditions - and those who have been bereaved – living in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

To date, he has raised more than £40,000 for Treetops and more than £20,000 for Long Eaton Rotary, which supports many local and national charities. 

Paul, a life-long bike enthusiast, said: “We receive a whole range of donations and some of which we thought were scrap, turn out to be very collectable. 

“We’ve also received some extremely generous donations of almost brand-new bikes. One in particular springs to mind; a Pashley trike which was purchased by a lady in Cornwall. It was an interesting project to pack and send it, but thankfully it arrived safely and made one very happy customer. 

“Some of the bikes need far too much work to tackle and we are very fortunate to have a friend who will buy them to renovate himself. Nothing goes to waste. Parts are stripped and saved, and any remnants weighed in for scrap. 

“It’s been far more successful than I ever anticipated, so it’s been great to have extra help from a member of the Treetops Facilities Team, John Deaville. Any other volunteer help is welcome too and would help us to continue and expand the scheme even further.

“We have a great team of volunteers which keeps everything running. My wife, Pauline, has been a volunteer at Treetops for 13 years and she helps with the admin, which can be pretty time consuming. 

“We were often collecting more than 20 bikes at a time using the Treetops Hospice mini bus but now have the help of Long Eaton Rotarians, Pete Wearn, and Barbara and Gavin James, who have collected over 450 bikes between them since March 2021.

“David, a neighbour and Peter Rushton, the husband of Treetops volunteer, Hilary, help with the mechanical refurbishment. Another friend, Sam, who is a cycling enthusiast, sells the more specialised bikes and parts on eBay. He has raised more than £15,000 alone from this, whilst still working full time.

“None of the funds raised, though, would be possible without the wonderful work of Margaret Gregory, who deals with all the sales - via Facebook Marketplace - as well as undertaking repairs and cleaning - no mean feat for a lady in her late 70s. She too deserves an award.

“We are lucky to meet so many lovely people who are happy that either their old bike or their kind donation is going to such a worthwhile cause and we were privileged to help local charities during the pandemic, including collecting scrubs for the NHS and helping the local foodbanks.”

The Derbyshire Beacon of Hope Awards – a collaboration between Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council, the Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Derbyshire – was created to identify and thank groups and individuals who have worked tirelessly to keep communities safe and businesses moving during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Paul added: “When I received the first email saying that I had been nominated for an award, I thought it was a scam. How wrong was I! The next contact was from the under Sheriff of Derbyshire, making an appointment to present me with the award. I was both shocked and honoured.”

Cheryl Morris, Treetops Community Relationships Manager, congratulated Paul on his award and thanked him for his efforts.  She said: “We absolutely cannot thank Paul – or Pushbike Paul as he’s fondly known – enough. He really is an important part of the Treetops Hospice family and we couldn’t continue to provide our vital care for the local community without exceptionally lovely people like him.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer to help expand the scheme can email cheryl @ treetops.org.uk.  Anyone with bikes they wish to donate can email pushbikepaul4treetops @ gmail.com 

From left to right: Pushbike Paul receives his certificate and hitting the saddle

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