Herefordshire fundraiser and motorbiker Mike Pullin and his fellow St Michael's Hospice Angels
PUBLISHED: 12:50 22 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:45 20 February 2013
Mike Pullin and his fellow biker Angels saw in 2010 by passing the £100,000 mark in their fundraising for Herefordshire's St Michael's Hospice
Mike Pullin and his fellow biker Angels saw in 2010 by passing the 100,000 mark in their fundraising for Herefordshires St Michaels Hospice.
Mike, 73, of Grosmont, Monmouthshire, a life-long motorbike fanatic who rides a Honda VFR 800, has taken the news of St Michaels across the world and he and his team have a full programme of events planned for this year including garage sales and selling on eBay, pub quizzes and more sponsored bikes rides. But the involvement does not end there. He is now a regular hospice visitor and the Angels have been coffin-bearers at the funerals of two friends and supporters who have been cared for at St Michaels. Here he tells the story of the two-wheeled wonders
It all started by accident some 18 years ago. I had a birthday party and paid for a jazz band and singer. Afterwards I heard people say they were not too keen on the jazz, so I said to my wife: Next time Ill charge people to come in.
Two years later I put a marquee at the Bridge pub at Kentchurch and used a local band, the result 1,650 profit but what to do with the money?
So we chose St Michaels Hospice, Hereford, a local charity, took the money there and saw what a fantastic service they offered. Two years later we did the same again, raising 2,250.
By now I was hooked and every year different events were organised. There were jazz nights at Kentchurch Court, a book sale, Irish bingo, several garage sales In 1999 I rode a motorcycle across India for Global Cancer Concern and in 2001 when my friend fell off and broke his arm I was stuck in the middle of India with two motorcycles, but thats another story. The Golden Valley Flyers, a parachute team raised 6,000 in 2000 (we are restarting their activities this year). In 2002 my friend Mike Marshall and I took Frank the horse and carriage from Ledbury to London and raised 12,500. On all the trips I make a film and Franks journey has raised some 9,000 from talks given to WIs, retirement clubs, U3A and Probus clubs.
Then in 2003, having enjoyed the motorcycling I founded the Hospice Angels. 2003 saw us visiting Vierzon in France, Herefords twin town. The following year I suffered a detached retina which blinded me in one eye as we were on a return trip to Vierzon. But I was back to fitness in 2005 when we visited Dillenburg, Herefords twin town in German where we received incredible generosity. 2006 saw us leaving Ledbury to visit its twin town Strmstad in Sweden; in 2007 we visited a palliative unit in the Orkneys and in 2008 a complete circuit of Ireland was made, calling at Sligo Hospice. Northern Ireland Hospice Care was to be the chosen charity at the NW 200 motorcycle race at Coleraine and Portstewart, raising funds for a childrens hospice and I told the organisers we would fundraise for them if they could get us into the paddock. I have a very nice certificate from them as we were very proud to have raised 3,500 in one afternoon. 2009 saw us visit the war graves in France and Belgium to pay our respects. At the Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium we were part of the Last Post ceremony.
Last year, being the 25th anniversary of the hospice we set ourselves a target of 25,000, reaching this by the end of November.
This year we are looking for a new venue to enable us to continue helping this worthwhile cause.
The members change from year to year but the following deserve mention for entering into the spirit of fundraising: Mike Weaver, Andy Wright, Witek Mintowt-Czyz, Chris Smart, Kennie Wilce, Rob Edwards, Andy Smithers, Julian Powell, Robert Taylor, Ron Maul and the late Gerald Powell, a great fundraiser and a great guy who is sadly missed.
For more information contact Mike Pullin on 01981 240544.
A unique group of individuals
Geraldine Rose, Head of Marketing and Communications at St Michaels Hospice says:
St Michaels Hospice is very fortunate in the support it receives from the local community. People from all walks of life help the hospice in a multitude of different ways and without it, St Michaels simply wouldnt survive. The magnificent support given by the people of Herefordshire and the surrounding counties over so many years now helps us to raise more than 3 million a year so that we can continue to offer all of our services completely free of charge to patients.
Visible daily in the hospice are members of the army of 750 volunteers who help to keep St Michaels going. Among them are those who help with patient care, offer complementary therapies, make tea and coffee, sit with patients and listen. Behind the scenes there are those who organise and attend fundraising and other special events, who support the shops and lottery and guide the hospice through attendance at committees and boards.
One of the better known groups of supporters is the Hospice Angels, a unique group of individuals whose combined fundraising efforts have benefitted St Michaels in many more ways than just the astonishing 100,000 plus they have raised. They wouldnt exist without Mike Pullin whose own special blend of charm and dogged determination defies anyone to refuse him! Affectionately known as the Arch Angel Mike by the fundraising team at the hospice, this spry septuagenarian has devoted a huge amount of his time and energy in support of the hospice including making a 12,000ft sponsored parachute jump despite having had a knee replacement!
The Hospice Angels are wonderful, we feel very lucky to have their support. Whenever we have an event we call on the Angels to help with marshalling and such like, they fundraise for us on their trips both internationally and locally, not to mention the great PR they gain for St Michaels. Its like having our very own host of guardian angels and we are very, very grateful.