A cyclist from South Tyneside will tackle a mountain stage of the Tour de France in the name of his friend put in a coma by a one-punch attack.
Retired fire officer Barry Marshall will take on the L’Etape du Tour - which is being run on the stage 18 course of the famous cycling race - on Sunday
The effort will see him raise funds for Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and back the One Punch Campaign, which urges people to think before they act and gives support to victims and their families.
The hospital is currntly caring for his friend Steve Willey, a Nissan worker from Washington, who was left in a coma for more than a year after he was knocked to the ground on December 23, 2015.
Barry, 51, of South Shields, was one of the founding members of South Shields Velo Cycling Club when it was launched three years ago.
The 51-year-old will join fellow mVelo embers Anthony Brew, Christine Marshall, Janet Ross and Bryan Ross as they and almost 15,000 amateur riders take in the L’Etape du Tour in support of their #wakeupsteve campaign in honour of their mate, whose nickname is Rapha Man.
Our intention is to keep Steve positive with a goal in mind, and to raise further awareness of the One Punch Campaign and the social responsibility we all have not to lose our tempers and react without thought of the consequences.Barry Marshall
Barry said: “It’s so annoying that the actions of one thoughtless lout has taken away great opportunities from our friend and his family.
“One thing is for sure, he will not be beaten and with the encouragement of the cycling community, both professional and amateur, Rapha Man will return.”
Barry is also organising a closed road event in Steve’s name in South Shields and there is hope Steve will one day ride a bike again.
Barry added: “Our intention is to keep Steve positive with a goal in mind, and to raise further awareness of the One Punch Campaign and the social responsibility we all have not to lose our tempers and react without thought of the consequences.”