Oil refinery workers cycling to Paris in honour of injured colleague

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 15 May 2018

A group of oil refinery workers are to cycle 300 miles to Paris in order to raise money for a charity that saved the life of their friend and colleague.

The workers from Total Lindsey Oil Refinery, are cycling from North Killingholme to Hull, before taking a Ferry to Bruges and heading off towards the French capital as they seek to raise money for the Lincolnshire and Nottingham Air Ambulance, who "saved the life" of one of their friends and colleagues.

Former refinery worked Steve Cook was involved in a life changing collision while he was out riding his bike in 2015, suffering a broken back plus a host of other injuries including third degree burns.

Lindsey Oil Refinery workers set off from the Killingholme plant on their charity cycle ride to Paris

He says that he "would have died" if it wasn't for the work of the team in the Air Ambulance, who quickly brought him to hospital after his crash.

A passionate athlete who regularly took part in cycling time trials and iron man competitions, he feared that he would never walk again, but now, just three years after suffering his injuries, he's preparing to take part in the Barcelona Iron Man competition in September.

He said: "If it wasn't for the air ambulance I am sure that I would be dead now, the work that they do is incredible and it really means a lot to me that my friends are making an effort to raise money for them.

"I honestly thought that I would never walk again, but since my injury I have refused to give up and now I am back on my feet again, although with the help of crutches.

Steve Cook, leads his former colleagues, out from the Total Lindsey Oil Refinery, as they leave the plant in Killingholme at the start of their cycle ride to Paris

"I have always been very fit, and since the injury I have been using a hand-cycle in order to compete in various iron man events.

"Recently though I have managed to get back on two wheels and ride a normal bicycle again, and I am hoping I will be able to compete on that in Barcelona rather that the torture machine that I am using at the moment."

It was Steve's love for cycling and feats of endurance that inspired his former co-workers to take on the challenge of cycling to Paris.

Seventeen riders and two support drivers are taking part in the three day journey that will see them arrive in Paris on Wednesday morning, where they will travel down the Champs-Elysees and around the Arc de Triomphe, before receiving a special welcome at the Total headquarters in the city.

Neal Markham, organiser of the bike ride, said that Steve had been an inspiration to them all, as he has gone from thinking he would never walk again, to competing in iron man competitions in just three years.

The riders set off on their 300 mile journey

He said: "It is going to be a tough journey but we are all looking forward to it and are sure that it will be a success.

"After everything that Steve has been through, we have to do it.

"Our target is to raise £2,500 for the air ambulance, because that is as much as it costs for them to embark on every life-saving mission they take part in.

"We have raised £900 so far, and will be pushing for more donations over the next few days to reach our target, and Total will also be contributing £1,000 towards our goal."

The riders also gave thanks to JC Cook's bike shop for providing them with spare parts and energy products, as well as Hertel, who have provided them with safety equipment.

Steve Cook, leads his former colleagues, out from the Total Lindsey Oil Refinery, as they leave the plant in Killingholme at the start of their cycle ride to Paris

The 19 men taking part in the trip are Neal Markham, Steve Smith, Stuart Dean, Tony Harris, Paul Fidlin, Steve Johnson, David Booth, Chris Beer, John Regan, Sean Power, Richard French, Peter Goodwin, Danny Burnett, Bill Howard, Ian Murray, Andrew Wiles, Andy Leggett, Gary Bell and Paul Plant.

The challenge is the first of a series of events that the Total Lindsey Oil Refinery will be taking part in to mark the 50th anniversary of the plant opening.

If you would like to donate to their cause and help raise money for the Lincolnshire and Nottingham Air Ambulance please visit their JustGiving page.

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