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Wellwishers raise £200 to replace bike stolen from man with learning difficulties

Newspaper readers club together to help out Louis Ryan

Newspaper readers have clubbed together to raise £200 for an Essex man with learning difficulties to replace his bicycle after it was stolen from the garden of his home.

The appeal was set up by readers of the Thurrock Gazette following a report last week of the theft of the bike from Louis Ryan, aged 22.

A picture accompanying the article showed Louis with his grandmother, who was holding up a sign which read: “To the thief who stole my grandson’s bike last night, you are on CCTV.

“Police have been informed, as have local paper. Please return.”

The money has been raised through Just Giving, where the target of £200 was exceeded on Sunday evening.

The page on the charity website explained why the cash was being sought: “Louis is a local lad who has learning difficulties, after leaving his bike outside in the garden to go back inside to get a coat as he was cold, when he returned some callous thief had stolen his bike.  Louis relies on his bike to keep in contact with his friends.”

Now that the target has been met, any excess money raised will be donated to the Treetops Youth Club, which helps people with learning difficulties and other disabilities.

Louis’s mother, Lindsey Ryan, told the newspaper: “We didn’t think this would be the response.

“This has happened so many times to Louis and it’s a real shame that people want to steal his bike.

“For people wanting to come forward and help like this is really amazing. It’s overwhelming,” she added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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