Bamber Bridge bike couple hope their Clap for Carers display will remind kids of what it was all about

A husband and wife from Bamber Bridge whose biking exploits took their neighbourhood’s weekly Clap for Carers event in a whole new direction say they hope that the spectacle they created will help drive home the meaning behind the moment for younger generations.

By Paul Faulkner
Monday, 1st June 2020, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 1st June 2020, 4:31 pm

Steve and Cath Ganner began taking a decorated tandem bike on a tour of their small corner of the town as it became clear that the Thursday evening show of appreciation for frontline NHS staff and other key workers was becoming part of the national psyche during the coronavirus crisis.

The couple’s appearance astride the pink two-person cycle soon drew even more people to their doorsteps along the quarter-of-a-mile route which the pair took around Old Hall Drive, Duke Street and Co-Operative Street. Steve estimates that 90 percent of households ended up taking part.

As the weeks went by, the decorations became more elaborate – having begun with just a horn and a bubble machine.

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Steve and Cath Ganner have been flying the flag for the NHS during the Clap for Carers event

“We then started putting up an ‘NHS thank you’ flag, then a rainbow flag and by the final week, we were carrying about 50 multi-coloured balloons, too.

“One week, we dressed up – my wife as a firefighter and me as a nurse. That went down particularly well.

“The first time we did it, we only saw a couple of children out, but then after that, they were at their bedroom windows or outside banging pans. We’ve since had messages from people who have said that their little ones were looking down the road each week, saying ‘They’re coming, they’re coming’.

“My wife thought that it was important that the kids had something to remember it by and I hope that when they look back, they’ll understand what it was about a bit more, because it was so clearly linked to the NHS by what we had put on the bike,” explained 66-year-old Steve, who works delivering prescriptions for a local pharmacy.

Cath and Steve Ganner

He also thanked local firm Gables Scaffolding, which allowed the couple to prepare the tandem in their yard, to preserve the element of surprise for the younger spectators, who might otherwise have seen the fully kitted-out bike en route to its starting point for the five-minute trip around the block.

The wheels on nationwide clapping event have now come to a stop after ten weeks, but Steve hopes that it will also have a lasting effect on the closeness of the community in which he lives.

“Everybody seems a lot more friendly and appreciative of each other. We only knew a few people either side of us, but now we’re speaking to many more.

“However, it’s not about us – it’s about our carers and it’s been great to see them get the recognition they deserve.”

But for now, Steve, 66, and Cath, 60, are putting their bike back in storage and hope that the next time they have cause to take it out, it will be in happier times – not to mention a little easier to manoeuvre.

“When you’ve got a little placard on the front, it’s not too bad – but when we put all the balloons on for the final week, it made the bike really difficult to control, because the centre of gravity was altered.

“When you try to turn a three-foot wide handlebar when there’s balloons and banners attached eight feet in the air, it’s not that easy,” Steve laughed.

Videos of the tandem rides can be viewed on the Be Proud To Be A Brigger Facebook page.