300-mile bike trek to say thank you

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TWO former homeless men who got back on the right track thanks to help from a Sheffield charity helped raised thousands of pounds for the cause by taking part in a bike ride to Paris.

Tam Comrie and David Hall were accompanied on their 300 mile journey by Lawrence Buckley, community manager for Emmaus Sheffield, a charity which looks after the city’s homeless and gives them work.

The trio, who cycled up to 80 miles a day, completed their epic trip despite a few hiccups along the way.

They included punctures, a broken bicycle chain, thunderstorms and a demonstration on the streets of Paris - about road safety.

The men helped to raise 7,000 Euros by selling teapots and bric-a-brac on their stall at the Salon de Emmaus, an annual bring and buy sale famous throughout France, which sees people queuing through the night to get in.

After getting involved in cycling for the Great Lakeland Challenge last year, they decided to take this trip in order to raise awareness of the charity’s work, both locally and internationally.

Lawrence said Emmaus was “a homeless charity with a real difference”.

He said: “It offers homeless people not only somewhere to live, but a chance to work and build self-respect in a supportive community environment.

“For me, this is about turning the stereotypes of what a homeless person is on their heads. They generally are people who have fallen out with parents or broken up with partners, and outstayed their welcome on friends’ sofas.

“If you catch people before they have spent too much time on the streets, you can really help to make a difference.”