Betty & Mike

I’d known Mike for a very long time; in fact we were childhood sweethearts after meeting at Birkdale School for the Deaf back in 1966.Life, however, intervened and we went our separate ways, but after meeting again in 1996 realised that we were meant for each other, and married in 2002.

Mike was always passionate about road cycling.He used to drive me bonkers buying bikes, and bike accessories!It was something he’d enjoyed since he was a young boy and it gave him such pleasure; it really was a big part of his life.His two little dogs were another of his great loves – they really brought out his softer side, he adored them and would sit petting them for hours.

He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 and after treatment at the Christie went into remission. Mike wanted to give something back and raised over £1,800 by taking part in sponsored bike rides. He was totally committed to helping other people by raising money for charity.He even had a special custom-made bike with fixed wheels, which cost the earth, but I didn’t mind at all – it was something that made him happy.

We were devastated when the cancer returned especially when, by September in 2015, he realised that he was too weak to ride his beloved bike.This more than anything really brought home to him just how poorly he was.

Mike and I were close friends with a young couple, Wendy and Mark; in fact they’re more like a son and daughter and they’ve been a real support through Mike’s illness. Mark is also a very keen cyclist, and it just seemed right when Mike asked him to look after his bike when he’d gone.Mark was so honoured by this, he said he’d put Mike’s ashes into the frame, so that wherever he rode they’d be riding together.

Mike was admitted to Willow Wood as an Inpatient on 4 May 2016.I can’t thank them enough for the way they treated us all – we were even able to bring our dogs to the Hospice so that he could have a cuddle with them on the bed!You couldn’t do that in a hospital, and it meant such a lot that he was able to say goodbye to them.

Mike passed away on 18 May, after spending his last two weeks at Willow Wood.True to his word, Mark put his ashes into the bike frame and on Sunday 21 May entered into Willow Wood’s Big Bike Ride in his memory.Riding that bike was like having Mike along in spirit, and when Mark raised £345 for the Hospice I was so proud.I felt that Mike was still giving something back to the charity that helps so many local people.

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