Bike theft victim turns anger into inspiration

Photo of Josh Harding holding a bike helmet and bike lock. Poster advertising Bike Fest @ The Stokes.

A young teenage boy left devastated after his bike was stolen is turning his grief into something positive for his local community.

Josh Harding, from Bradley Stoke, is putting on a bike safety and awareness event to help others take measures to stop them falling foul to his fate.

The 14-year-old is working with several organisations, including the local police and South Gloucestershire Cycle Safety team, to organise ‘Bike Fest @ The Stokes’.

Josh’s mum Sue said:

“We became fixated with trying to find his stolen bike, checking selling sites online and driving around our neighbourhood. It was really getting Josh down, so I said let’s do something positive instead and that’s when we came up with idea for an awareness event.”

After saving for 12 long months, Josh had his bicycle stolen just weeks after he bought it. He had cycled to the Willow Brook Centre to buy his parents a gift for their wedding anniversary and came out to discover his bike was gone.

“He was so gutted that he’s refusing to let us get him another bike in case this one gets stolen as well,” said Sue.

Bike Fest @ The Stokes is being held on Saturday 6th January, from 11am to 3pm at the Willow Brook Centre.

Sue said:

“No one is to blame for the theft of Josh’s bike, other than the people who took it. We’re thankful for the support we’ve had from the Willow Brook Centre and other organisations, who’re backing our event.”

Josh and his family have arranged for police to attend and bring along tamper-proof security stickers to be placed on bikes. They will also have ultraviolet pens that will mark the bicycle frames, but can be seen under a special light.

South Gloucestershire Council is providing a ‘make your own smoothie using pedal power’ bike that they usually hire out for events. They’ve donated it, free of charge, to help raise money on the day.

Sue said:

“Vouchers as part of the SportsPound project will also be handed out – a local initiative from South Gloucestershire Council encouraging people to try out sports and activities for free.”

“The council will also be collecting donations of old bikes (minimum 16-inch wheel size) that will be sent for repair and later be handed back out to those in need within the local community.”

“It’s been great to see so many organisations getting behind Bike Fest @ The Stokes, we’re really grateful for all the support.”

Bradley Stoke Radio will also attend to play music and keep people entertained throughout the day.

Josh and Sue are still working on other events and ideas for Bike Fest @ The Stokes. The event will take place whatever the weather, as it’s planned for outdoors, but will be taken inside if the weather isn’t favourable.

Related link: Keeping your bike secure (Avon and Somerset Police)

This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 6 & 7). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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