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Home / Latest News / 172 cyclists set off on charity ride in memory of much-loved father and son

172 cyclists set off on charity ride in memory of much-loved father and son

A poignant charity challenge has seen 172 cyclists riding off from South Wales to Somerset in memory of a father and son.

Rhian Burke, of the Chestnuts, Miskin, lost her one-year-old son George and husband Paul just five days apart in February 2012.

Six months after their deaths, the 35-year-old decided to set up 2 Wish Upon a Star, a charity designed to improve bereavement services across South Wales.

Her most adventurous fundraising venture yet started on Friday morning, when her village turned out in force to see off the 172 cyclists from St David’s Church.

They will ride from Miskin to Taunton over three days and finish by taking part in a charity cricket match involving many of Paul’s friends.

Nurses who tried to save George’s life also took part in the event – dubbed Wickets N Wheels – along with South Wales Police officers.

In glorious sunshine, BBC weatherman Derek Brockway and Real Radio DJ Jason Harrold sent the army of cyclists on their way just after 9am.

Rhian, who has already managed to raise £70,000, said: “It has been an amazing turnout. I really can’t say thank you enough to everyone who’s taken part. This really is a community day, from people making bacon sandwiches to the children dancing at the church grounds.”

Rhian Burke with her husband Paul and son GeorgeImage 5 for 'Rhian Burke' gallery
Rhian Burke with her husband Paul and son George

 

Rhian, who has no long-distance cycling experience, paid tribute to both her husband and son, who had a joint funeral at Llandaff Cathedral on March 13, 2012.

She said: “I was so proud to call Paul my husband; proud to take his name and proud to walk beside him.

“He was my rock, my best friend, my hero who, despite leaving his underwear on the bathroom floor and the remnants of his beard up the bathroom mirror, was my soul mate.

“And George was a perfect baby brother. He never cried, just chuckled. 

“He smiled non-stop and slept like a dream. He was simply adored by all who met him. He was our little star.”

Every cyclist was registered and given a T-shirt before setting off.

Mum Melanie Mallin, from Llantrisant, said: “I was just devastated when I heard what had happened.

“I jumped at the chance to take part in this ride and do what I could for the charity.

“It was fantastic to see all the bunting and so many smiling faces. The atmosphere was incredible.”

George died three hours after suffering a sudden fit at the family home.

And dad Paul, who was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, fell to his death just five days later after being unable to cope with the devastating loss.

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