Bikers ride out to aid Mary Rose Academy in Portsmouth

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HUNDREDS of bikers put on their leathers and descended on a village to raise money for children with severe and complex learning disabilities.

The annual motorbike event saw one of its best years yet with 182 bikes taking part in the trail starting from Wickham ending at Mary Rose Academy in Gisors Road, Milton.

(l-r) Bill Mills (56) from Swanmore, Gordon Harriott (68) from Chichester and Tony Oakshott (53) from Fareham, in Wickham Square before they head off.''Picture: Sarah Standing (14952-8884) PPP-140329-184618001

(l-r) Bill Mills (56) from Swanmore, Gordon Harriott (68) from Chichester and Tony Oakshott (53) from Fareham, in Wickham Square before they head off.''Picture: Sarah Standing (14952-8884) PPP-140329-184618001

The annual event is a fixture in any local bikers calendar and this year’s good weather meant a bumper turn out.

Organiser Darren Preston, from Havant, said the event has been going for at least 10 years.

Mr Preston, 48, said: ‘We’ve been doing it now for a number of years, not only at Easter but at Christmas too. The weather has brought out all the bikers, it makes a difference.’

The bikers rode a trail from Wickham, up to Southwick, through to Bedhamption, and along the A27 on to the Eastern Road, Portsmouth before arriving at Mary Rose Academy.

Once at the school the group met the headteacher Alison Beane and presented her with the money raised and Easter eggs for the children.

Pupils at the school have severe and complex learning disabilities, in addition to learning disabilities many pupils have additional needs associated with physical disabilities, autistic spectrum disorder and medical conditions.

The bikers raised £816.

Mr Preston added: ‘We have a couple of good girls that go around with the buckets and make sure that nobody leaves with any money in their pockets.’

Ian Donachie, from Portchester, was at the event on his Harley Davidson Heritage Springer.

Mr Donachie, 55, said: ‘I’ve done this ride ever since it first started. Bikers have a bit of a bad name but I know most of them do charity work.

‘This is for kids in need at the school and we raise quite a of money each time, so it’s a good thing to do.’

Evelyn Mills, from Swanmore, said: ‘It is nice to do something worthwhile and the funds that we collect help the school and the kids there are really lovely.’

Andy Daish, 43, from Swanmore, said: ‘It is the first time I’ve ever done a ride like this when it’s been sunny.

‘It was really good last year but this year is better. It’s for the kids at the end of the day and it’s always nice to turn out and do something for somebody else.’