How can you Help?

Of course, running any charity needs money, but there are also other ways in which you can help. We have teamed up with Easyfundraising.org, which is a site where you can do your online shopping through, and our charity receives a donation from the shop from each purchase made. This doesn’t cost you ANY extra, but can make a huge difference to our funds. Just click here for details; http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/threeowls/.

 

We also raise funds with Recycle4Charity.co.uk; you too can help with your old inkjet / toner cartridges, - none of this will cost you a penny, but can make such a difference to our work, whilst helping the environment too! Just click on the banner below;

recycle for Three Owls Bird Sanctuary  Reserve

Saving all your used postage stamps and bringing or posting them to us can also raise money to help save wild birds' lives. You'd be surprised at how quickly they will mount up once you start saving them!

 

Old / foreign currency (coins AND notes) are always welcome. No amount is too small.

 

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Three Owls is entirely run by volunteers. This means none of your donations are lost on salaries, and all of the money raised can go directly to benefit wild birds.

 

Donations are always welcome, no amount is too small, and all are very much appreciated.

 

Please make cheques/P.O. payable to; “Three Owls Bird Sanctuary & Reserve”, or you can donate online by PayPal using the button below.

Thank you for caring for wild birds and supporting our work.

 

 

We have set up our own online shop where you are able to purchase items specific to Three Owls.

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Manchester to Blackpool Sponsored Bike Ride Appeal 2013

Sunday July 14th

By John Thorpe


Believe it or not folks, this year's event will be my 24th consecutive effort, and I'm determined to make it a good one. My apologies firstly for the lateness of this appeal but this year seems to be flying by, and, like many of you, I'm trying to do too many things at once! Your support, always unstinting is needed as much as ever to allow Three Owls to continue its work and to do our bit towards preserving the wildlife we have left in this country. I spoke recently to the lady whose tortoise sanctuary in Cornwall was hit by exactly the same set of circumstances which forced Three Owls to close its hospital and aviary rehabilitation work, and she too has been forced to close her doors to the public. A fortuitous set of circumstances has allowed all her animals to move a few miles down the road to new facilities provided by a former assistant, and while they will all be well cared for, the strain and sheer anger which it has inflicted on her is immense. Like Three Owls, no-one benefitted from all the bureaucratic insanity and the public have been deprived of a great education facility to boot. Incidentally, the local council member most actively involved in Cornwall has lost his seat in local elections. He blamed the Tortoise-Gate backlash! (Shame)
 

We continue to help wild birds in many ways, through advice and referrals, and of course through the development of the Reserve at Tarleton, near Southport. One day perhaps, when we are all gone, it will shine out like a beacon of hope in an increasingly sterile world, and we will all have been vindicated. I'm proud to be involved and hope that once again you will support my humble efforts in the saddle.
 

Please send your cheque/PO made out to Three Owls Bird Sanctuary & Reserve at the Rochdale address, and write "Bike Ride" on the back so Nigel will know what it is for.
 

Many thanks, John Thorpe.

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The Sorry Saga of the Broken Pump and other hair raising tales from the

2013 Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride.

      By John Thorpe.
 

Hello loyal Three Owls readers and welcome once again to my tales of adventure and derring - do on the public highways.My apologies for the delay in the production of this report, my fault entirely and nothing to do with Nigel. As I put pen to paper (or finger to keypad!) for this annual report, I'm feeling surprisingly good after my marathon cycle (OK to Bradley Wiggins it would be like popping to the shops for a bottle of milk,but I'm not Bradley Wiggins!) to Blackpool.To be honest I expected to suffer badly due to the lack of training (I know...again!) and thought I might have to dictate this from my sickbed,but I apparently got away with it again and lived to write about it.

           It only seems like yesterday that I set off down Deansgate,Manchester,with several thousand others all jockeying for position (no staggered start times in those days mate!) and thinking I wasn't going to survive to see Salford.This was my 24th consecutive ride, and the route, and the means of transportation back from the seaside have both changed over the years; originally trains, now coaches and lorries; but one thing remains the same...the thrill of the start, the smell of warm embrocation and the expectation of adventures along the way.
             Unlike my normal routine of booking well in advance, I paid my entry fee on the day, and was given the number 7001, so we know there were well over seven thousand riders on the day. Indeed, at one point they all seemed to be in front of me and all over the road-well I sportingly slowed down and let them overtake so as  not to depress them too much! I left home at 5.00am, loaded with essential supplies.......painkillers, antidepressants and bandages.....and made my way as fast as my sixty one year old knees could carry me,along deserted roads to the football ground at Old Trafford.Surprisingly it only took fifty eight minutes,and was a real pleasure in the early morning sun with the prospect of a hot,sunny day ahead. Deciding what to pack is always difficult, even after all these years, and is a balancing act between taking essentials for any emergency and carrying so much that the spokes bend!
              As usual my old friend 'The Voice of the Ride' with his bright yellow suit was there adjusting his microphone and amplifier, and a few initial feedback problems made it sound like the worst case of flatulence in recorded human history!  I posed for a picture with him(or was it the other way round?), and then after getting a mention 'on air' for my twenty four rides, set off with the first wave at 6.30am. We left to resounding cheers which were either encouragement or denoted that they were glad to get rid of us, and settled into an easy rythmn for the first mile or two. As always, the early stages are more about avoiding idiots and potholes than anything else, and thankfully I managed to do both.
        A few years ago I can recall when the biggest risk was drowning, but thankfully the spell of glorious weather ensured that we could concentrate of enjoying the day. It reminded me so much of the Summers of my childhood, when you really could stay out all day and not get wet,and further more were not in any danger either. How sad that most modern children will never know that freedom.
       Anyway, before I become all maudlin and dewy eyed, I'll continue. For years I've been trying to persuade my zoo keeper mate jon, who lives in Blackpool, to come on the ride with me, and amazingly he's found a variety of very plausible excuses over the years. This year he assured me he'd begged the manager to let him change his day off, but to no avail! I might even have believed him had it not been for the hint of sarcasm  and barely disguised chuckling in his voice. One day, one day my friend!
           We wound our way through largely empty streets and roads,and I must admit that this year I really noticed the deterioration in the pothole situation generally. Nationally there have been several cyclists whose deaths have been directly linked to potholes and the local authorities' lack of urgency in mending them,even denying that reports have been sent in.Unquestionably it is a disgrace, and some of the holes looked as if a Cornish tin miner should be at the bottom of them! I also mused on the fact that we take our health very much for granted until we lose it, and the odd twinge from the knees is a timely reminder that the body is like any machine, it needs to be regularly maintained and serviced. To those making up their own jokes at this point  may I say it's all in your minds! Interestingly, I recently took my Reiki 2nd Degree course and armed with more power than Darth Vader, I decided to try remote healing on the move,on myself. Amazingly it really did help, and the knees performed better than before. However weird and wonderful it may sound, I urge anyone to look into the subject-it really does do what it says on the tin.
      Back to the ride, and we made steady progress, heading north west then west through Boothstown, Astley and Leigh, then north through Westhoughton and over to Aspull and Haigh Hall, where we detoured through the gorgeous grounds. Those readers with long memories and an appetite for the painful will recall the short stretch of prominent and solid cobbles between the road and the start of the path through the grounds, and suffice it to say that all the padded undergarments and saddles in the world won't protect your delicate regions from the effects of a good rattling-excellent for Tiny Tim and Michael Jackson impersonators but not much damned good for anyone else!
      Taking a few minutes to say hello to Darren from Pilkington Cycles, who I haven't seen since last year, I carried on,and feeling quite chipper, having reached this point by 8.50am, stopped a little from the grounds by a lovely little canal bridge and country pub (pure coincidence I assure you) for a snack and a rest. The scene was idyllic, with a large family of Mallard ducks on the water, birds singing in the trees and several cyclists muttering unmentionable cycling phrases under their breath as they mended punctures, tightened spokes and adjusted their surgical supports. Roughly translated, one I heard was " I say old man, I appear to have developed a slow puncture, what awfully bad luck and such a nice day too!"
     Having demolished some of my sandwiches and sports drinks, and only intending to stop for about twenty minutes or so, I made the fatal mistake of asking two of the riders if they needed a hand with an obviously troublesome puncture. They were obviously not well prepared with tools and equipment, and furthermore hadn't brought a pump between them......not the brightest thing to do on a sixty mile ride one wouln't have thought. I agreed to lend them mine, and watched as one of them set to to inflate the tyre. His rate of pumping and arm movements suddenly speeded up to what seemed like a blur, and before I could stop him, the shaft of the pump was bent  like a dog's hind leg! To say I was not amused was an understatement, and given that the two Mancunians involved didn't seem too concerned that they'd left me with no working pump for the rest of the ride, and didn't offer to reimburse me for a new one, I felt ill-used. They tried to borrow someone else's pump,saying " I think we broke this one ."  Too  !£$%^! right you did, I thought, and having wasted nearly an hour I decided to go while I still had a working cycle, praying I didn't suffer a puncture before the end. No good turn ever goes unpunished, as they say! 
       Thankfully the sun and beautiful countryside eased the annoyance a little, as we pushed on through Standish.then north to Chorley, then west and north to Leyland. Unbelievably, standing on a  street corner, waving us on enthusiastically was the same man who encouraged us with "Dig in lads, dig in!" last year. The words were the same, and I wondered if he'd been practicing all year in front of the bathroom mirror, like an old ham actor making the most of his one line in a play. Bless him I'm sure he means well!
            A little further on, as the hill levelled out, two children stood by the edge of the road, an arm outstreched with the palm facing us at head height. The cynic in me presumed they were trying to nick one of our helmets, but they were cheering us on and giving us a 'high five'. Like several riders in front of me, I did likewise, and was given a smile and a wave for my trouble. They aren't all bad you know. Not like the rancid little urchin a few years ago in Salford who yelled at me as I rode past him " I hope you have heart attack!" I  wonder where the little darling is now.
           There definately seemed to be more people cheering us on by the roadside this year, and it's always nice to get a bit of encouragement when the spirits are flagging. The sun made everything look brighter, greener and smell so much sweeter (well apart from the manure of course!) and it  literally makes one feel glad to be alive and privileged to be physically fit enough to be able to do it. I ride best and walk best when it's hot and sunny, as I have since childhood, and the feeling of joy in simple things, has, I'm glad to say, never left me. Just as well really in these times... the simple things are all we can afford!
        Before I  knew it, we were approaching the long road into Preston which never seems to end, and on a bad day can be torturous. On the day of the ride it was almost pleasurable, with brilliant sun and no sign of a cloud to mar the sky. I rolled into Preston at around 11.30am, and took a break for about 25 minutes, which included a trip to Morrisons store to use the 'facilities' before departing for the last leg to Blackpool. At least half of the 7000 plus competitors seemed to be on the road at this point, and the sheer lunacy of some riders blocking a public highway by riding six abreast never ceases to amaze me. If they had a brain they'd be dangerous, and even without one some still are!
            As if to illustrate the point,as we went round  a small roundabout in tight formation, someone clipped my rear wheel from behind. I turned in the saddle to see a rider wobbling wildly off to the left,but carried on regardless. He was obviously not looking where he was going and was too close to boot.........well I might have booted him if I'd got the chance to be honest!
         The section from Preston to Blackpool goes through some lovely countryside and picturesque villages, and some of the cottages make one very envious of their occupants I must say. I have a soft spot for Freckleton, which always looks so well cared for and has a lovely atmosphere. Sadly I read a few days after the ride that underhand plant stealing tactics  may have been employed by unknown thieves to potentially sabotage the village's chances of winning an award for the third time in the Britain in Bloom contest.Is nothing sacred anymore?
        We hit Warton,and were in turn hit by the freshening wind, which told the more experienced riders that the haul into Blackpool along the lovely but windy Lytham coastal road was about to begin. Soon the famous white windmill set in a a huge expanse of coastal lawns came into sight, and the legs took the strain as the wind from the sea pushed us back to Manchester! To be honest, it wasn't as bad as it has been in some years and the sun made it so much more tolerable, but it still taxes the reserves after all those miles.
        With probably a mile or so to go before the finish, I noticed that I was feeling every bump in the road throught the front tyre, and on closer inspection found it had a puncture, the first for a long time on the ride. Needless to say I had no pump, and could hardly expect someone else to stop while I fixed the puncture, so had no choice but to push for quite a way along the sand strewn road. After twenty minutes I reached an ice cream van and treated myself to a very large cone with all the trimmings. Ice cream never tasted so good I can tell you, and with renewed vigour (and a few dribble marks on my top), I pressed on and eventually arrived at the point where the road joins the promenade, leading to the Mirror Ball and the Solaris Centre. There was no way that my gallant steed was going to be humiliated by being pushed across the line, and I got on board and nursed her up the Prom towards to crowds waiting by the finish line. As I crossed the line, at 2.35, I caught the eye of my yellow suited friend in the commentary box and gave him a thumbs-up sign, which he returned and announced that his friend had just completed his 24th consecutive ride. Everything seemed worth the effort suddenly, and I collected my bottle of water and tiny Soreen Malt Loaf (like everything else I'm afraid, much reduced in the recession) Next order of business was to borrow a pump (which I didn't break by the way!) and fit a new tube, then treat myself to a beer and a rest before catching the coach home at 3.40. We were in Manchester for 5.00, then wasted nearly an hour sitting waiting for our bikes to arrive in the truck-unusual and probably an organisational hiccup.There were a few wry comments about our bikes being on sale in a field near Blackpool, but thnakfully we were wrong! As usual I helped unload the bikes, and when almost everyone had departed, I noticed another helmet on the ground near my own. Enquiries among the few remaining riders drew a blank, and so it was that inadvertently I accquired a spare helmet to compensate for my broken pump. Obviously it was Karma! It seems odd that anyone would ride off without it, but sadly that's what happened.
          As always the miles home seemed to take an age, and walked through the door at 7.30pm on the dot, to be greeted by my other half and our surprised rabbit Pepper. My wife's "Well you don't look as dead as you did last year!" were a great comfort as I slid down the settee.

         My faithful twelve year old bike and I covered around 87 miles in all,and with any luck I'll be back on the start line next year for my quarter century of the ride. To prove how completely insane I must be I did 53.22 miles on an exercise bike as a fund raiser for Bury Shopmobility, where I work as part time volunteer, recently, and I'm still here! Thanks to all our loyal supporters who have dug deep and helped our conservation efforts over the years-I hope you will find the cause good enough to support again this year-wildlife needs all our help as never before, and Three Owls values your support more than you can ever really know / Goodbye until next year.

John Thorpe 2013.

 

 

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John Thorpe's annual sponsored

Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride

on Sunday 8th July 2012

Written by John Thorpe

Firstly let me apologise for not putting pen to paper earlier, but a combination of flying time, depressing weather and distractions has delayed me. this will be my twenty-third ride to Blackpool, most of which have been for the benefit of Three Owls, and as I sit looking out at a wet, unrelenting miserable day, I find myself looking back at what we all achieved for the birds before madness descended, and bureaucracy put an end to the work of the wild bird hospital at Rochdale. Nigel will no doubt not want me to be maudlin, and I'm constantly amazed by his positive attitude and energy in the face of something which would have crushed a lesser man; but I have to say that for me, the wounds of the closure are still very raw, and I miss what we had, with all its imperfections and challenges.

The new Woodland being cultivated and shaped in Tarleton will, in future years, be a symbol of hope for local wildlife and will show those who tirelessly hounded the hospital out of existance, that you can't kill an idea of love and goodwill of its supporters by blind unthinking adherence to dogma. This year I'm asking for your support again, and hope that you will remember the work of the charity and what it is still doing to help wild birds in distress. The ride is looming large, and I'm painfully aware that I have not done nearly enough preparation, but I'm obstinate by nature, and even if my time is not as good as in previous years, I will be there at the finish, tired undoubtedly, but also proud to be there on behalf of Three Owls and all it stands for.

As well as anyone, I know how tough these times are, and how difficult it is to spare money for charitable donations, but I truly hope that you will be able to support me on Sunday July 8th, and will do my utmost to represent Three Owls on this annual festival of embrocation, punctures and groin strains. If I can avoid the latter I'll be eternally grateful and will pen my report as soon as I can after the ride! I knew I'd never resist the temptation of an awful pun!

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for caring, and I'll carry your good wishes with me on the day.

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To sponsor John for his valiant efforts, please either make an online donation marked "Bike Ride", or send a cheque payable to Three Owls Bird Sanctuary & Reserve to our usual address, (please write "Bike Ride" on the reverse).

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Read on for Johns' report from the Ride.....

The 2012 Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride - Confessions of rider 5370.

 

By John Thorpe.

 

       This year's ride seems to have come round so quickly that I almost lost track of time, and found myself facing the ride, probably in wet weather and with little or no preparation. Now at this point I should say, particularly for the benefit of any younger readers, that cycling for long distances without breaking your body in gradually and building stamina is not a sensible idea, and I neither recommend nor promote it. I'm afraid this is yet another example of an adult practising one thing and preaching another but if it's any consolation you'll probably end up the same thing one day when you're older! Anyway, suffice it to say that while preparing my trusty steed once again, I was aware that she was undoubtedly in better shape than I was. So far this year, I’ve had several viral infections(along with half the UK population no doubt!), and knew that I was not in top condition- of course that's all relative, and compared to many of the serious competitors in the ride, my top condition is nothing to write home about!

        Due to getting used to the relative ease of using my motorcycle for the past couple of years I've grown a bit lazy when it comes to muscle power, and my son, always the supportive, sensitive one asked if we should dust off the life insurance policy, and my wife enquired whether anyone had actually died on the ride so far! Thus filled with confidence I braced myself for the task ahead, and armed with linament, copious amounts of padded clothing and an early night on Saturday, I drifted off to sleep imagining the worst that could happen. Punctures are an ever present danger, and like illness, strike without warning or any regard for the character of the rider or the condition of the bike - however the ultimate failure would be not to finish the course. Apart from the personal disappointment there's the very real risk that potential sponsors will feel cheated and will not honour pledges.

        When the alarm went off at 4.00am I sprang out of bed (OK I was still dreaming this bit!) and gingerly opened the curtains, to find that it was fine and quite promising outside. Given the capricious nature of the weather over the past months I didn't get too elated, but was glad that at least the ride into Manchester might be dry.

 Working on the principle that while my muscles might not be 100% perfect, I could at least put enough fuel in the tank for them, I waded through a large bowl of porridge, complete with chopped banana, a cake and an energy bar and extra vitamin tablet. I'm not too proud to take help when it's there folks!

           Double checking the bike and my supplies ,said a fond farewell to our adopted rabbit, Kane, and posed for a couple of photos for my wife ,who , bleary eyed, dragged herself out of bed to see me off  and to take snaps to  remember me by! Five o'clock  saw me on my way, taking  care not to pull a muscle  and easing myself into the routine again, heading towards the Manchester United Football ground (the only time you'll ever find me near one!) ,and found that the muscles, although a little stiff were not performing badly . Virtually empty roads are always a pleasure to ride on, and I was reminded of how relatively quiet the roads used to be when  I was a child - apart from the odd Penny Farthing bike, horse-drawn omnibus and Model T Ford !

            My bike and I reached the football ground at around 6.00 am, and had our photo taken with my eccentric friend 'The Voice of the Ride’, who I've greeted every year for twenty three years .Along with a number of early morning riders I set off at 6.30am in lovely weather, on the principle that the earlier you leave, the earlier you arrive- in theory at least. Like last year I had fixed the 'helmet-cam' in place, but since I was trying different batteries, was unsure of whether they could last the required time. In the event they proved not quite up to the job, and while I haven't yet seen the footage, I hope it captured some of the atmosphere of the day. Aiming to just settle into a steady rythmn, I wound my way through Trafford Park  and past the edifice to retail therapy that is the Trafford Centre, through Boothstown and on towards Leigh, all the time expecting the rain to hit us.  Instead it actually got warmer and sunnier, marvellous normally, but with so much moisture in the air, a recipe for humidity. I have to tell you that humidity and Lycra cycling gear don't mix, and there were times when I thought I was going to be wetter on the inside than out!

             Inevitably you pass unfortunate souls whose tyres have literally let them down, and if anyone is looking panic-stricken, I make a point of asking if they need a hand. There's nothing worse than being stranded miles from home, and not having the experience or the tools to sort the problem out, and thus it was that I  stopped somewhere around  Aspull, as I turned a corner and spotted a young African man  bent over his upturned bike and looking very frustrated. His chain had stuck fast between  the chain wheels and he was having no luck freeing it  with a screwdriver .Luckily I had a decent tool kit with me and together we utilised  a pair of long nosed pliers and the screwdriver  to free it, turning the pliers into short nosed pliers in the process! A grin that any film star would pay good money for  made it obvious how relieved he was, and as we shook hands and got back on the road ,I could at least feel some satisfaction  that he could now continue- and probably go faster than me !

           This year, unlike last, we were able to go through  Haigh Hall Country Park, but as a matter of choice, for a refreshment break, rather than the obligatory route. I opted to do so, partly because it's a beautiful place, partly because I needed a rest and partly to see if the infamous cobbles at the entrance still wreaked havoc with tender parts of the anatomy. The answer was yes, and I can now sing 'Oh for the wings of a Dove' with no effort at all! After a  short stop I rejoined the ride and continued on to Standish, Charnock Richard and Chorley. In case anyone thinks I'm heroic and have an iron will because I took a short break, I have to disillusion them. The real reason is that taking a long break makes it that much harder to get back in the saddle, particularly when one's tired. It was on this section that a lad on a rather tired looking bike ,pedalling with his heels (very uncomfortable and energy wasting) and awkwardly carrying a bag over his shoulder, came up alongside as we cycled uphill and I panted a bit. "Are you knackered?" he cheerfully enquired ."Not yet, but ask me later!" I grunted.

              Some of the bikes ,as in previous years, are unusual, and among this year's offerings were recumbent models, where the rider lies back and pedals with the feet  or sometimes with the hands on adapted ones, a green model which looked like a large scooter where the rider stood up and turned the wheel by pushing down on foot pedals, rather like an exercise machine; and best of all a uni-cycle . I've seen these before of course, some having a small wheel, some a tall saddle post, and some, like the one I saw on Sunday ,a large wheel. The young lady riding it went past me as if I was standing still, and I was filled with admiration for her sheer guts in taking on sixty miles on one wheel. I'd love to know what she did when she had to stop  at the lights though, did she dismount or just find a post to lean on? Answers on a postcard please to Three Owls!

                We worked our way through Leyland and into Preston by the carriageway which seems to go on forever(especially when your legs are aching) , and arrived by the dock area, where I had another break while I watched a cormorant fishing in the water below .They are incredibly agile birds ,although not popular with anglers due to the fact that they eat fish-who'd have thought it?!  This one dived, stayed submerged for a minute then popped up well away from the entry point. A few  Lesser  Black-backed  Gulls flew overhead, calling plaintively and obviously hoping for  some fish scraps or some of my sandwiches, but both the Cormorant and I held on to our meals for dear life!

                 Still bathed in sunshine, the trusty bike and I sallied forth towards our final destination, crossing the Lancaster canal over  a small stone bridge which must have seen some sights since it was built, and which gives some of the dumber riders the chance to dice with death by riding on the wrong side of the road into traffic they can't possibly see. I'm always amazed at why these imbeciles travel so far to try to kill themselves when they could surely do it more cheaply and easily at home! This is a beautiful part of the ride, and goes through country lanes and roads winding between fields and through small villages. Only the uphill bits spoiled the idyllic scene-I'm not a great uphill  or wind person (if you're making up your own jokes I can't stop you!) and unashamedly prefer the flat or downhill . On one hill I actually managed to clock a little over 30mph-if only I could do that all the way  I'd be there in two hours flat !

                  We progressed through Cot tam, Treales, Kirkham and Freckleton, and on to Warton, where the wind freshened and began to blow with a force that told us we were about to start on the final few miles to Blackpool. A Bike Events steward  at a roundabout called out "You're on the last leg now!" I thought he said "You're on your last legs!",and was about to ask him how he knew, but really thought "We certainly are, and they're the  hardest few miles of the whole ruddy trip!"

                  A rather portly lady rider to my left cheerfully called out "Not far to go now eh?"

 When I  pointed out that  the wind was so strong on occasion that it could stop you in your tracks along the coast road, she said dejectedly "Oh, don't tell me that !" Too late, I thought, I’ve done it now !

              We turned into the wind, and felt that the leg muscles groan as they took the strain. The famous white windmill at Lytham gleamed in the sun and so did I..........with perspiration. The mood was lightened by a rider who shouted to his riding mate , " I think I'm getting my second wind". I thought,, "So am I mate, the first came from eating my lunch in a hurry, and the second is coming straight off the Irish Sea !"

             At long last we  turned off the road, with its wind and sand, and were on a more sheltered one running along the promenade  to Blackpool; and I passed what I took to be a father and daughter, riding side by side. He was supporting her back and giving her a push with one hand, as she struggled against the wind, and there was something quite touching about the determination of the child and the support of the adult which summed up the spirit of the ride.

              Finally, at 1.38pm,after a long slog, the finish line with its huge white banner and flanking crowds of well-wishers came into view. A couple of bottles of water, an energy bar and my coveted completion certificate were the rewards for sixty miles of pedalling , and it certainly felt good  to  ease out of the saddle and rest. The sun was easing aching muscles all over the finish area, as riders and their snoozing bikes  stretched out on the grass with friends and relatives ,and there were so many people in a small space  that it was hard to reach the Bike Events tents to book my place on the 2.30 coach to Manchester. True to form  some rain fell as we reached Bolton and Manchester itself ,although briefly. As usual, I helped to unload the bikes from the  transport lorry ,and felt sorry for the owner of the last bike off, which had a flat tyre , which meant him repairing it before he could get home. I eventually got home at 5.38,after what seemed an eternity, and every traffic light seemed to be on red! For those interested in figures, the total distance covered was 89.3 miles(including the outward and return journey from Manchester to Bury),with an average speed of 10.5 mph. ironically (very ironically!) I attended Blood Donors today and found that my iron count just one point too low to donate, due to, the nurse felt, my exertions on Sunday. This has never happened before, but then again I don't think I've ever had an appointment so close to the event. Still it was a perfect excuse for a bottle of Guinness-purely for medicinal purposes you understand! The nurse I saw was also a long standing cyclist, and said "Don't worry, just eat plenty of red meat, broccoli and red wine" Given that I'm a vegetarian, I took the red wine prescription.

                  I'd better conclude before Nigel thinks I'm taking over the website altogether. Even when the going is tough and you don't think you can make it ,if you have a goal to aim for you can win through. My goal was not to let down all the people who have shown they care  about our work (in this country and overseas) and our ethos at Three Owls. Times are tough and we know how hard it is to spare money  for charitable donations, but any help you can give will be hugely appreciated. We have a proud heritage to live up to ,and we all play our parts. Like the other seven thousand riders in the event, I'm very proud of completing it, and with luck will be back for the 24th event in 2013 . We've achieved a huge amount over the years, and recession or no recession we must not fail the birds and the wildlife that depend on us.


 

 

 

 

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  • Palm Sunday release

    It was one evening last week when I received the latest call for assistance from Meltham Wildlife Rescue in Yorkshire

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    April 9, 2017
  • Mother Nature

    Often she gives us wonderful displays, and some exquisite wildlife to marvel at, but sometimes life can have a cruel

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    April 8, 2017
  • A football team perhaps...?

    Well, you'd think we were preparing for a five-a-side team at the Home Reserve, as I was surprised and thrilled to fi

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    April 2, 2017
  • April Babies - but no Giraffe!

    Well, we have not one, or two, nor three but FOUR new additions to the Home Reserve.

    These have all hatched o

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    April 1, 2017
  • Early moths on Meadow Reserve

    One of the very first moths of the year- a Common Quaker on a daffodil, after a mild damp night.

    More signs o

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    March 12, 2017

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