The Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride 2018 by John Thorpe.


Hello everyone and firstly my apologies for the delay in writing this - time seems to go nowhere these days. The Bike Ride this year is on Sunday the 8th of July and appears to be following the same route as last year, with a distance of approx. 60 miles - doesn't sound a lot when you say it quickly does it?!


This will be my 29th consecutive ride, and the magic 30th is dangling like an imaginary carrot ahead of me. I'm taking one thing at a time though and concentrating on this one first. Experience has taught me that one can never take anything for granted, and always treat the ride with respect or it will bite you when you least expect it. I've had a bit of a chest infection of late but will be nursing it along and taking things easy - the main thing is to finish, the time is less important - there speaks an aging rider for you! I've been thinking a lot about the work that Three Owls has done over the years, much of it never seen by the public and probably not truly appreciated as a result. Each individual story of rescue and recovery would take the volumes of a library to recount, and I still live in hopes that Nigel will find the time to put the Three Owls story in print some day, to show just how much time and sacrifice went into making it what it was, and in a different way, still is today. I am available for line drawings by the way!


Nigel will probably kill me for saying so, but very few people really know how much time he dedicates to answering phone calls and giving advice to the public and to other rescues, as well as spending time physically travelling to assess birds and give practical help to other rescue organisations. We are both Car Boot addicts I'm afraid, and most Sundays through the Summer meet up while scouring the stalls for elusive must have items, or junk to uninitiated! I often come back to Three Owls for a coffee, a chat and to show him my little treasures - stop it, there are people making up their own jokes!


The number of calls he deals with while I'm there is often amazing, and multiply this over the entire day and you have some idea of the work involved. I know this to be also continued throughout each evening and weekend throughout the year. My point is that Three Owls continues, in different ways, to make a significant contribution to the welfare of wild birds, and other animals along the way, since we frequently find new organisations which may need help or may in fact be able to help us in the future. The rescue community is a living, breathing thing which constantly evolves and hopefully improves in terms of its ability to use the most up to date information in the service of wildlife. Anyone who watched the recent series of Springwatch programmes couldn't fail to be horrified by the figures showing the decline in so many species of wild birds and other animals in our countryside, including rabbits, a species close to my heart. Human beings have inflicted so much damage with so little thought over the past hundred years, and future generations will hold us to account one day.


While none of us are entirely blameless, some of us can honestly say that we tried our best to make a difference where we could. If you can be a part of that in any way you can look yourself in the eye in the mirror and at least know you were part of the solution, not the problem.


Every bit of support you can give my humble efforts will make a real difference to the quantity and quality of help we can offer to other organisations, and ultimately to the birds who are so vulnerable in a world we dominate. Every life is worth saving, and I do believe that in so doing we help to save ourselves, both spiritually and in reality,


 I hope to be able to write my usual post ride report in due course, and thank you in advance for you continued support for both my ride and the work of Three Owls- we have risen above the trauma of recent years, and with your help we will continue to carry the torch which Mrs. Watkinson lit over fifty years ago.


Thank you all.


John Thorpe

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