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Video: York man, 94, reunited with stolen bike he built himself after World War II

Bernard Kirby's bike was found abandoned following appeal on social media after break-in at his home...

A 94-year-old man from York has been reunited with a bike he built himself after the Second World War which had been stolen from his home last week.

A video posted to YouTube by Minster FM's David Dunning shows the moment the bike was returned to Bernard Kirby yesterday, to the evident delight of its owner, who had still been riding it as recently as last year.

It had been taken from his home in Nunthorpe Road following a break-in and an appeal for its return was launched via the Bishy Road Facebook page, and shared widely on social media.

> Thieves steal bike from York man, 94

That led a man who had spotted the distinctive bike abandoned to get in touch with councillor Johnny Hayes, chairman of the Bishy Road Traders Association, so the bike could be returned to its rightful owner.

Councillor Hayes told Minster FM: "It’s fantastic, I’m absolutely delighted.

“I think whoever took it decided there’s been so much interest they’ll never get rid of it so they’ve decided to dump it and Bernard’s got his bike back.”

Originally it had been reported that the bike was a Raleigh Sports model that Mr Kirby had bought in the 1960s, but it turns out to be even older than that, and it's a bike he had an additional emotional tie with because he built it himself.

As he explains in the video, Mr Kirby bought the frame from Bob Pexton's bike shop in York for £12 shortly after he was demobilised from the Royal Air Force at the end of the war.

He said that he needed to wait two weeks to obtain “all the bits – the mudguards, the wheels and the lot," so he could complete it. 

"Within a fortnight I was riding my bike," he added.

Councillor Hayes described it as "a happy end to the story" - something we're sure all readers would agree with.

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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