Kind-hearted cyclists are using pedal power in support of a popular Wearside man as he lies in hospital in a coma.
The Echo reported earlier this week how Steve Willey, 45, was allegedly attacked just days before Christmas.
Steve, of Donwell in Washington, is yet to regain consciousness after suffering severe head injuries following the incident, which happened while he was waiting at a bus stop with wife Paula in Newcastle’s New Bridge Street West on December 23.
The Nissan worker and keen cyclist was rushed to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), where he underwent emergency surgery before being placed into an induced coma.
Now, a week-long “spinning” fund-raiser has begun at Fausto Coffee, in St George’s Terrace, Roker, after the shop’s owner Louise Riddell pledged her support.
Friends, family and members of South Shields Velo Cycling Club, which Steve is part of, are all riding a stationary bike at the popular coffee shop for an hour at a time.
Cash generated will be split between Ward 18, the Adult Critical Care Unit where Steve was first admitted to, and Ward 16, the neurosurgical ward where he is now.
Speaking as the fund-raising got under way, Steve’s brother Chris, 32, said: “The original plan was going to be to do the cycling on this Friday and next Friday, but we’ve had so many people come forward that we’re doing it with two bikes for the whole time that Fausto is open until next Friday.
“We’ve had more than £1,200 in so far which I don’t think any of us expected to get.
“We want to raise as much as possible and if it gets to more than £2,000, I’ll be over the moon.”
Doctors are continuing to monitor Steve’s condition, with his loved ones praying he makes a full recovery.
“He is stable and off all of the ventilators now,” added Chris.
“In the last five weeks since he was injured he’s come a really long way.
“The doctors keep saying that there is no time scale for it and every person is different.
“Until Steve wakes up, it’s a waiting game for all of us.”
To donate to the fund-raising, go to www.justgiving.com/spinforsteve.
l Nicholas Leslie Graham, 26, of Belsay Gardens, Newcastle, has been charged with Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) and is due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court next month.