The scheme is the brainchild of Treetops volunteer, Paul Wilcox, affectionately known as ‘Pushbike Paul’. Paul, 65, from Breaston, collects donated bikes from the local area, makes them road-worthy, then sells them in return for a donation to the hospice.
Since the scheme began eighteen months ago, Paul has recycled and sold well over a thousand bikes, raising over £25,000 for Treetops which provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions and those who’ve been bereaved.
The challenge remains to restore any unwanted bikes and give them a new home
Paul is a life-long bike enthusiast as he explained:
“From being a child, I have always been interested in how bikes work and was often rescuing old bikes to renovate. Needs must in those days as you couldn’t afford to buy new! The challenge remains to restore any unwanted bikes and give them a new home.
“We receive a whole range of donations and some of which we thought were scrap, have turned out to be very collectable.
“We’ve also received some extremely generous donations of almost brand-new bikes. One in particular springs to mind - a Pashley trike which was purchased by someone in Cornwall. It was an interesting project to pack and send it, but thankfully it arrived safe and sound for one very happy customer.
“Some of the bikes need far too much work to tackle and we are very fortunate to have a friend who will buy them to renovate himself. Nothing goes to waste. Parts are stripped and saved, and any remnants weighed in for scrap.
We have a great team of volunteers which keeps everything running
“We have a great team of volunteers which keeps everything running. My wife, Pauline, has been a volunteer at Treetops for eleven years and she helps with the admin, which can be pretty time consuming. The sheer quantity of donations - we often collect in excess of twenty bikes at a time - now means that we regularly carry out collections in the Treetops minibus which Pauline can drive.
“Our close friend Margaret Gregory deals with all the sales, which are done via Facebook Marketplace. It’s no mean feat for a lady well into her ‘70s - she is often dealing with sales, cleaning bikes and so on, late into the evening and early morning!
“David, a neighbour, helps me with the mechanical refurbishment and another friend, Sam, recognises if bikes are worth more for their spare parts – we’ve rasied over £3,000 alone from this.”
Way beyond anything we anticipated in the early days of the scheme
Paul is staggered with the success of the scheme:
“Raising over £25,000 is way beyond anything we anticipated in the early days of the scheme. Fortunately, during lockdown, the sale of bikes was encouraged and we were able to continue and flourish during that time.
“We get to meet so many lovely people who are happy that either their old bike, or their donation, is going to such a worthwhile cause.”
Paul has made the bike recycling scheme a part of his life, putting smiles on peoples’ faces
Treetops Deputy Community Relationships Manager, Cheryl Morris, said:
“We absolutely cannot thank Pushbike Paul enough. He really is a part of the Treetops family.
“Paul has made the bike recycling scheme a part of his life, putting smiles on peoples’ faces of those who can buy a new bike knowing the proceeds are helping those who need it the most.
“The scheme has so many benefits to all involved and we couldn’t continue to provide our vital care for the local community without exceptionally lovely people like Paul - thank you!”