Hundreds support ride of Jamie’s life

Mark Hartley, left, keeps an eye on son Jamie in a sidecar.
Mark Hartley, left, keeps an eye on son Jamie in a sidecar.

People lined the streets to watch hundreds of bikers on a special ride in support of a Blyth family.

The participants in Jamie’s Ride of His Life set off on Sunday morning from the Blyth end of the A193 Links Road and headed to the Brierdene car park in Whitley Bay.

Hundreds of bikers took part in the ride-out.

Hundreds of bikers took part in the ride-out.

After a half-hour break, the group returned to Blyth via a different route. They went along the Beehive road (B1325) and through Seaton Delaval.

Mark and Kristina Hartley’s sons Jamie, 22, and Kyle, 24, were young boys when they displayed signs of Juvenile Huntington’s Disease (JHD).

Their condition has got progressively worse and Jamie is at the stage where he only has months to live, so his dad wanted to have a final ride-out with him.

Jamie enjoyed going for rides on quads and motorcycles, but now he is a full wheelchair user and cannot control his movements, so Mark knew the only way his son would be able to still enjoy going on a ride would be in a sidecar.

The people pictured with the Hartley family include Kathryn Avison and her friend Vicky, who helped with the organisation of the ride.

The people pictured with the Hartley family include Kathryn Avison and her friend Vicky, who helped with the organisation of the ride.

Mark put out an appeal for help on Facebook and it went viral. With all the offers of support and people wanting to be part of the ride, a major event was organised.

Jamie and Kyle’s sisters – Anastasia, 15, Imogen, eight, and Trinity, six – were taken along on Can-Am three-wheel vehicles.

Mark said: “It was a fantastic day and it was absolutely amazing to see the streets lined with people, even by the back roads on the return journey to Blyth.

“People from all over the country, and a few from Germany, took part and it was nice to speak to some of them at the Brierdene car park.

Mark and Kristina Hartley embrace during the event.

Mark and Kristina Hartley embrace during the event.

“It has touched a lot of people’s hearts and brought the best out of everyone involved. Jamie has been smiling a lot over the last few days reliving the ride-out.

“The bikes with Jamie and Kyle in the sidecars were driven by Roy Bennington and Paul O’Brian, known as Laddie, respectively. They are both members of the Lanchester Centurions.

“We’re also grateful to Kathryn Avison of North East Bikers for her help in putting the event together and raising awareness, the local XXXX Crew Motorcycleclub for organising the riders on the day and the police and Arthur Cranson of the county council for all their support.”

Those working with the Hartley family to organise the ride also wanted to do some fund-raising for them and a charity that supports research into JHD.

As well as donations, stalls were set-up in the Gloucester Lodge Playing Fields area, where bikers were able to camp on the Friday and Saturday nights, and the Mermaid Café car park on Sunday, and an auction took place at The Seahorse pub in Blyth on Saturday evening.

Items included helmets, jackets and signed photographs.

To make a donation via the online page set-up for the Hartleys, click here