A MOTORCYCLIST who lost his brother to a brain tumour is calling on bikers from Uttoxeter to join an overnight ride to fund vital support for cancer sufferers and their families.
Phil Burrows did not get to say goodbye to brother Frank when he died, aged 49, nine years ago.
He had not been diagnosed when he suffered a fit and slipped into a coma, from which he never awoke.
And, on June 21, Mr Burrows will saddle up for the Bikers4Macmillan Sunset to Sunrise tour, which will see hundreds of riders travel from the west coast to the east coast of Britain.
They will pass through Uttoxeter during their 250-mile journey from Holyhead, Wales, to Skegness.
And Mr Burrows, whose father beat prostate cancer before dying from a heart attack seven years ago, is calling for Uttoxeter’s motorcyclists to join the group.
He said: “Although Frank and my father were never treated by Macmillan nurses, I know how valuable their work is.
“I’m the maintenance manager at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital and am well aware of the support they offer cancer sufferers and their families.
“When Frank died, it was so sudden and unbelievably tough not being able to say goodbye to him.
“It took a huge toll on my parents and I’m convinced my dad’s death was in some way related to the pain of losing Frank.
“When I read about the Bikers4Macmillan scheme three years ago, I thought it was a great excuse to get out on the bike and help a really amazing charity in the process.”
There are already 150 bikers signed up to take part but, with the limit for participants set at 200, Mr Burrows wants to see more people from Uttoxeter sign up.
He said: “We’d like to attract a few more people from Uttoxeter and Burton and are closing the online registration system at the end of the month.
“So I’d urge anyone who loves riding and wants to do something positive for those in need to get on board and sign up.”
A Bikers4Macmillan spokesman said: “Bikers4Macmillan’s Sunset to Sunrise tour is in its 6th year now and has increased in numbers each year.
“Bikers4Macmillan is a fund-raising group raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support through the common ground of an interest in motorcycling.
“Throughout the year we organise trips, rides and visits.
“Some are fund-raisers and some are not. After all, we’re motorcyclists that raise funds not fundraisers who ride bikes.
“This years ride departs Southstack Lighthouse at sunset, passing through Uttoxeter at approximately 12.30am and finally arriving into Skegness for approximately 4am.
“This year’s ride has so far attracted 150 riders and we still have 2 months to go.”
Mr Burrows, who will be riding his Kawasaki ZZR 1200 during the trek, said he ‘can’t wait’ to hit the open road.
He said: “The rides we go on are such good fun to take part in.
“We won’t be travelling on motorways and will follow the national speed limit. Safety is paramount and the whole event is properly marshalled.
“The last two rides managed to produce £38,000 for Macmillan so we’re hopeful we can raise a huge total again.”
Anyone who wants to sign up for the ride is asked to visit www.bikers4macmillan.co.uk, where there are also links to the initiative’s Just Giving page.