Bikers’ teddy bears’ picnic at Newstead Abbey raises money for Macmillan

Visitors to Newstead Abbey got a big surprise when a group of motorcyclists turned up for a teddy bears’ picnic to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
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The event was organised by 68-year-old Steve Freemantle, founder of Bikers4Macmillan, which has raised more than £120,000 for the charity since 2008.

He started fundraising for Macmillan after several loved ones were diagnosed with cancer and supported by Macmillan.

Steve said: “My mother-in-law had bone cancer 14 years ago and sadly died.

The teddy bears' picnic was organised by Bikers4Macmillan founder Steve Freemantle. Photo: SubmittedThe teddy bears' picnic was organised by Bikers4Macmillan founder Steve Freemantle. Photo: Submitted
The teddy bears' picnic was organised by Bikers4Macmillan founder Steve Freemantle. Photo: Submitted

"A few years later my wife was diagnosed with throat cancer and has now made a full recovery.

"Ever since my first contact with Macmillan the experience has driven my fundraising mission to give back and raise as much money as possible for Macmillan to continue the excellent work they do.

"We are bikers who raise money for Macmillan through the common ground of an interest in motorcycling.

"Every year we have a teddy bear’s picnic where we take our picnic blankets and our teddy bears and we have a lovely time.

"Not something you’d expect from a bunch of burly bikers, but we love it.

“We take our fundraising very seriously so there are a number of rules.

"You must bring a teddy bear (not a unicorn or a panda), you must bring appropriate food and drinks for your teddy bear and you must also provide something for your teddy bear to sit on.

"If anyone does not bring a teddy bear they will be fined and the money will be donated to Macmillan.”

The teddy bears’ picnic is just one of a number of events the group organises to support Macmillan throughout the year.

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One major one is the Sunset to Sunrise bike tour which sees 120 motorcyclists ride through the night on the summer solstice, setting off from Holyhead at sunset and arriving in Skegness for sunrise.

Helen Farrant, aged 53, another member of the fundraising group, was diagnosed with stage 2 aggressive breast cancer in March last year.

She was supported by the Macmillan nurses at King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton.

Helen said: “The Macmillan breast care nurse was amazing.

“Any time I had a problem, she was there on the end of the phone.

"I had to cancel some holidays after my diagnosis and she helped me with the letter for that.

"Any issues or questions I had, I’d phone her and she’d always call me back straight away.

"She was just there the whole time.”

She is now on her final round of treatment and as well as the teddy bears’ picnic, she’s also planning her own fundraiser at her home to celebrate the end of treatment.

Jamie Davenport, Macmillan fundraising manager for the area, said: “There are no words to describe what Steve, Helen and the group have done for Macmillan.

"Their commitment to fundraising year after year has been unwavering and they’ve raised an incredible amount for Macmillan, helping to fund vital cancer support services, so we can do whatever it takes for people living with cancer.”