superbike star James Toseland led a procession of 700 big-hearted bikers through Sheffield on an Easter Egg Run to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
It was the sixth year the South Yorkshire rider has supported the event, although this year he headed the convoy in a BMW rather than on his bike because of an injury to his hand.
The police-escorted procession was made up of riders from the Three Shires Honda Owners Club, who have organised the event for the past 12 years, raising thousands of pounds to improve the care and environment for children at the hospital.
Last year the parade raised more than £3,000 - and this year’s total received an impressive start with a £5,000 donation from James, which has already been spent on the makeover of the Ryegate children’s therapy centre.
The route took the bikers from South Yorkshire Police Operations complex on Europa Link near the Parkway, through Attercliffe, the Wicker, West Bar and up to Weston Park, where they parked opposite the hospital. A delivery of chocolate eggs was also made to the children.
Among those taking part in yesterday’s event were riders dressed in Easter bunny and chick costumes, with several others sporting rabbit ears through their helmets.
Passers-by joined patients and their parents outside on Western Bank to greet the procession, as riders beeped their horns and waved.
Among them was Jake Green, who is in hospital after suffering compacted fractures to his left tibia and fibula in an accident when he fell from a Tarzan swing into a stream.
The 12-year-old Birley School pupil, from Hackenthorpe, posed for pictures with James and asked for his autograph while getting some fresh air in the park.
His mum Donna said: “He was really keen to come out and watch the procession.
“He’s a really active boy so it has been hard for him because he’s in hospital and hearing how long the recovery is going to take. But this event has really brightened his day.”
Shelley Bates, from Grimethorpe, Barnsley, whose 14-year-old daughter Shauney is currently being treated at the hospital after developing complications following surgery, said: “We’ve been watching the procession out of the window and it’s fantastic.”
Shauney added: “My cousin is really into motorbiking so I’ve been texting her this morning and she is really jealous! I’ve been told I have to get an autograph for her!”
James said it was a pleasure to return to the hospital - a visit he looks forward to each Easter.
“The Children’s Hospital Charity is a cause close to my heart and I like to do whatever I can to support the work of the hospital and its staff,” he said.
“Every time I visit I am always made to feel so welcome by the staff, families and the young patients.
“I love chatting to the children and always come away feeling inspired by their bravery and courage.”
Simon Athey, fundraiser at the charity, said: “We are delighted that James was able to join us for the annual Easter Egg Run again this year.
“James is a great supporter of the charity and lifts the spirits of patients and families.”