The Sunderland priest who pedalled 600 miles for charity

A Sunderland priest was grateful for the day someone threw out a rusty old bike.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 13 June, 2019, 15:45
Father Coyle and his long-distance bike.

That’s because it meant Father John Coyle had the transport he needed for a 600-mile ride to raise £50,000 for church extensions.

Father Coyle, from St Hilda’s RC Church in Southwick, set off to Land’s End in June 1982to travel all the way back to Wearside.

But he was doing it on a rusty bike which someone had got rid of.

He said at the time: “This is the longest ride I have attempted.”

He was no stranger to fundraising attempts as he had previously cycled to Lourdes and once went on a 200-mile trip round Scotland.

But Land’s End to Sunderland was a very different challenge.

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He had a back-up team with him and they were Doug Hall, Larry Millar and Kevin McGurrell.

The 49-year-old had been at St Hilda’s for six years in 1982 and said the £50,000 would go towards an annexe. That, he said, would provide a meeting place for church members.

It would also mean easier access to the church itself for the more elderly members of the congregation.

Father Coyle added: “The bike was rusting in the back garden of a neighbour’s home about 12 years ago and they did not want it.”

Who remember’s Father Coyle’s mega bike challenge?

Get in touch and tell us how he did by emailing chris.cordner@jpimedia.co.uk