Help for Sheffield NHS frontline worker Rayna Foletti after bike stolen from hospital

At the peak of the Covid outbreak, nurse facilitator Rayna Foletti was busy in the infectious diseases wards at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 9:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th June 2020, 9:07 pm

She was helping to keep her nursing team supplied with PPE equipment, food and water and updating the notes for patients suffering from the worst effects of the virus.

Then after finishing work one evening, she went to collect her treasured road bike from the bike cage outside the hospital.

She’d cycled in that morning to enjoy the sunny weather, and was planning a gentle ride home through the Porter Valley to help her unwind after a stressful day.

Rayna Foletti receives her new bike from David Nottage at Tony Butterworth Cycles

But the bike was gone, stolen while she was helping her nurses through the worst days of the crisis.

“It was like I was dealt a blow to the stomach. I felt sick, to know that this crime had been committed during my working day on the frontline,” she said.

“To take a pair of cable cutters in broad daylight to take advantage of those of us who are just working, concentrating on saving lives.”

The road bike had taken Rayna on cycle tours across the UK and on weekend rides all over northern England.

“For two weeks, the loss was terrible to me. I thought I’d just give up riding. For me, my bike was my happy zone,” said Rayna.

But then she had a word with Henry Nottage of Tony Butterworth Cycles, who’s been helping NHS staff with free bike servicing throughout the pandemic.

He advised Rayna about her idea of a new ‘pleasure and commuting bike’ and then the local Love to Ride active travel network stepped in to help her with the cost.

“I was gutted for Rayna when I heard that her road bike had been stolen while she was hard at work at the hospital, and it was an honour to be able to source a suitable replacement for her, and a big bonus when Love to Ride said they would help cover the cost,” said Henry.

Rayna isn’t the only NHS worker to have their bike stolen during the pandemic.

The suspicion is that thieves are targeting key workers who have invested in decent bikes for travel during the crisis.

Love to Ride advise employers to prioritise well planned bike parking hubs, with secure external locks accessible only by staff, covered by CCTV.

It turned out the bike cage at the Hallamshire had a broken access gate, now replaced.

“Bike thefts are a plague on our city,” said Henry Nottage.

“Severe cuts to policing haven't helped the situation, so the onus on employers to provide secure storage has never been higher.”

“It was an absolutely brilliant offer to help me buy a new bike,” said Rayna.

“I’ve ridden it for a week now and it’s a beautiful bike, it has all the qualities my old bike had, but with flat bars for commuting.

“I was devastated to lose my old bike but now I can keep going.

“That’s what our team in the NHS do!”

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