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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 has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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