Hospital nurse's stolen bike replaced thanks to kindness of strangers in Shropshire

A nurse has thanked generous colleagues, friends and strangers who helped fund a new bike after hers was stolen while she was on shift at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

Paula Hilditch, left, Karen Parker with her new bike, and Ben Llewellyn, who helped to get the new bicycle for her
Paula Hilditch, left, Karen Parker with her new bike, and Ben Llewellyn, who helped to get the new bicycle for her

Karen Parker, who is a colorectal clinical nurse specialist at RSH, had mentioned the theft to her nurse colleague Paula Hilditch in passing, but had no idea what would happen next.

Paula contacted her distant relative Ben Llewellyn, who is a mountain bike racer, to see if he could help find Karen a new bike and, after putting out a plea on Facebook, he had raised more than £1,000 in a matter of hours.

His friends from the cycling industry, together with staff from the hospital and friends and family, gave generously and Karen has now been presented with a new bike, helmet and lock.

"My bike has been my lifeline to get to work, " said Karen, who has worked at the hospital for 36 years.

"Last month, it was stolen from the bike shelter. I went to look for it and at first I thought I'd forgotten where I'd put it.

"I was annoyed because I loved it and it was an inconvenience.

"I went in to work and mentioned what had happened and Paula said she was going to reach out to someone she knew in the cycling business.

"It was just lovely to be presented with the new bike – it's amazing. I was taken aback.

"Just the biggest thank you to Ben and everyone who contributed and to Paula and my work colleagues. It meant such a lot to me."

Karen, 56, of Shrewsbury, was redeployed to work on a Covid ward for about three months at the very start of the pandemic.

She says at a time when staff faced the unknown, they were there for one another.

"We worked as a team and everyone looked after each other and pulled together," Karen said.

"None of us knew what to expect.

"It was just the unknown because it was so new back then."

Paula described Karen as a "true diamond" and said she was only too happy to help.

"Karen has been a nurse all her working life, she is so caring and compassionate," Paula said.

"She is a giver and puts everyone and everything before herself.

"During the first wave of the pandemic, she was redeployed from our team and worked on the Covid ward for many months.

"I feel that by reaching out and being able to do such a wonderful, kind, amazing thing for Karen, it has restored her faith in mankind.

"Without Ben, this would have been very difficult for us to achieve alone."

Ben, who lives near Minsterley, added: "I posted on Facebook to see if anyone could help out and asked people to donate through PayPal.

"Within six to seven hours we'd raised enough for the bike – we found one worth a little over £1,000 from Cob House Country Park in Worcestershire.

"They donated £200, while The Trailhead Bicycle Company in Shrewsbury donated £100 and Will Chambers, from Blazing Bikes in Church Stretton gave another £100."

After the cost of the bike was covered, £130 was leftover which is being donated to Bowel Cancer UK at Karen's request.

"It was completely overwhelming," Ben said.

"I'm happy I could help and I was fortunate enough that I knew people in the cycling industry."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News