Cyclists help raise more than �4,000 for Norwich’s SOS bus

A man whose life was saved by the SOS bus has praised a group of friends who have raised more than �4,000 for the pioneering project by cycling from Norwich to Amsterdam.

Since it was set up more than a decade ago, following the river deaths of Nick Green, 16, and James Toms, 21, the scheme has proved a safe haven for more than 6,000 vulnerable people in the city.

One of those the team has helped to save is 21-year-old John Stanford, who fell down a flight of stairs at Essence bar on Prince of Wales Road on New Year's Eve.

The former City of Norwich School sixth former spent more than a week in a coma and in October will have a titanium plate put in his head, but owes his life to the SOS bus team who were first on the scene.

A group of close friends have just completed a five-day charity ride from Norwich to Amsterdam and back to say thank you to the service for what they did for Mr Stanford, helping to raise well over �4,000 in the process.

Rob Harper, Jordan Butler, Sam Spaul, Andrew Marjoram, Greg Lochhead, Dan Nichols, Michael Bates, Daniel Knevitt and Freddie Beckett cycled a total of 255 miles between July 7 and July 12 and are now recovering on holiday.

Mr Stanford, who lives at Eaton, has today praised their efforts and said their contribution will allow others to be helped by the SOS Bus like he was.

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He said: 'I'm really proud of them. They thought of it off their own back and raised lots of money and did lots of hard work training.

'I'm really proud of them and really happy that they did it.

'The money they've raised for the SOS bus will do a lot of good and will help others. The bus helped me and if it hadn't have done I wouldn't be here now. I honestly believe that.'

Sarah Mintey, principal of the Open Youth Trust, which operates and manages the bus, said more donations and pledges have yet to be added to the �3,365 total on their Just Giving page, taking the current total raised from the ride to more than �4,000.

She said: 'We're really, really thrilled.

'We went down to the Forum last Thursday and they all turned up at 6pm. They were all so chuffed and I was flabbergasted by what they had achieved.'

To find out more about the SOS bus project, or to volunteer, call 01603 763111.

To donate to the cycle ride visit sos-savedourstanners

Are you doing something amazing for charity? Call Evening News reporter Peter Walsh on on 01603 772436.