Slinfold’s Michael Dalrymple has raised some £50,000 for local and national charities, working long hours six days a week at busy periods.
Yet, after a notable career running a substantial tree surgery business including prestigious contracts with the Chelsea Flower Show grounds, Hampton Court and numerous London Boroughs, most people would be content to put their feet up and retire long before their 83rd year. But, Michael says: “What I do is good fun and I want to keep going as long as possible!”
Unsurprisingly, Michael has won a richly deserved best fundraiser community award, but the secret of his success follows a simple formula: a good idea backed by genuine endeavour.
Michael explains: “About eight years ago our village church – St Peter’s, where the family worships – was short of much needed money and the then vicar gave a few of us a £10 note and asked us to grow this as in the parable of the talents. I threatened to bury mine in the ground, emulating the Bible story but back at home I pondered on what I might be able to do. I’d always been a committed cyclist, repairing and tinkering with a variety of bikes down the years so I decided to put that experience to use and began renovating and rejuvenating second hand machines.”
At Michael’s home there is plenty of evidence of his efforts with a wide range of children’s and adult’s bikes displayed for sale at very reasonable prices and as many again awaiting attention in Michael’s extensive workshop.
The church has benefited to the tune of £40,000, the village hall has received £1,000 for chairs and the scouts and guides money for flags.
Kent, Sussex and Surrey Air Ambulance Trust is an ongoing project with £7,000 raised in eight months. Michael and his wife Sue’s two sons and four daughters, include tri-athletes and international charity funding cyclists, Jason helping his father with bike repairs whenever possible. And, some bikes are boxed up and transported to Africa, Michael saying: “Enabling children to cycle to a school means that they can receive an education.”
Pupils from a local school for children with challenging behaviour have been taught how to repair bikes by Michael and he has prepared “balance bikes” for autistic children to get them started on the road.
He has designed a renown portable branch shredding machine, been a local councillor and has given inspirational talks to local schools and other organisations – outlining what can be achieved through imagination and determination, despite finishing education early. And for good measure he sharpens shears and secateurs for the village and recycles used metal crutches for charitable export.
If you have a redundant bicycle to donate, need a repair or a reconditioned machine then look no further than Michael Dalrymple, Slinfold’s Mike the Bike – 01403 791309 – you will be assured of a kindly, helpful reception – and every bargain transaction supports a very worthwhile cause.