Bikers' epic road trip gave them 6,000 reasons to smile

David (right) and John hand over a cheque for 6,000, the money their epic 8,000 mile bike trip round Europe raised for Derian House children's hospice.
David (right) and John hand over a cheque for 6,000, the money their epic 8,000 mile bike trip round Europe raised for Derian House children's hospice.

A trip of a lifetime made more than just memories for two keen bikers.

For the epic 8,000 mile journey around Europe, completed by pals John Richmond and David Walsh, raised £6,079 for Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Friends since they were 12, the duo from Cliviger wanted to do something different to celebrate their 50th birthdays.

And the tour of 32 countries over six weeks, accompanied by the Derian knitted mascot Danni, was certainly that.

Father-of-four John rode his trusty BMW, while David, who has two children, took his Triumph on the momentous journey they called Miles for Smiles.

They funded the trip themselves so that every penny donated would go to Derian House.

David said: “It was a fantastic trip and we met so many wonderful and friendly people along the way.

“And we would like to send a big thank you to everyone who sponsored us.”

The trip was 10 years in the planning for John, a partner in Richmond and Kershaw Plumbers, and David, who owns Vantex workwear and corporate clothing suppliers.

It grew from a group ride around the Mediterranean to the epic journey around Europe, taking in David’s grandfather’s war grave at Arnhem and a short break in Greece at the halfway point.

John said: “Derian is a truly fantastic charity.

“We were proud to wear our Derian T-shirts and our motorbikes have been covered in our Miles for Smiles and Derian House logos.”

And the duo were proud to hand over the cash to mascot Danni who came to Burnley in person to collect it.

Derian House is at the forefront of children’s palliative and respite care.

Opened in 1993 it covers the whole of Lancashire and currently helps around 300 families who have a child or young adult suffering from a life shortening condition.