Staff and students at Carmel College are set to cycle from Leeds to Liverpool in memory of a former student who died suddenly of an undiagnosed heart defect.
Nineteen teachers and five students - including James Nicholas’s little sister, Caitlin - are set to take on the daunting 128-mile bike ride next Tuesday and Wednesday (May 27 and 28).
They will be raising money for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in memory of James – who was also known as Ron – who collapsed and died at his Rivington Road home just four days short of his 22nd birthday.
The 24 Carmel College fundraisers are set to follow the canal path all the way from Leeds to Liverpool before, poignantly, finishing at Anfield as James was a big Liverpool FC fan.
James and Caitlin’s dad, Kevin Nicholas, is planning to set up refreshment stops for the fundraisers along the way.
He said: “James was apparently fit and healthy when he collapsed and died. Doctors think he may have had the long QT syndrome heart condition. He went on to earn a degree in finance and accountancy from Liverpool John Moores University. It’s such a shame he didn’t get to use it.”
Head of maths Ian Moran, who helped organise the event, said: “We run a trip to Barcelona every summer and James joined us on that so we knew him quite well. We were all very fond of him - he was a likeable lad - so when his family came in to ask whether the college could support their fundraising, as a department, we were determined to do something to help.
“We decided to think up a challenge which would really test us all, but had to rein it in a bit when I suggested swimming the Channel!”
Mr Moran added: “The students have all been doing a bit of training in preparation for the ride but some of the staff have only just got their bikes sorted! By hook or by crook though, we’re all determined to finish.
“Ideally, we’d love to raise £1,500 for CRY. But it’s also about raising awareness of how many young people this condition can affect.
“There are ECG tests which can be done to assess whether young people are susceptible to heart problems or not. We’re hoping to get students tested in college next summer.”
To support the Carmel College bike ride, donate at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LeedsToLiverpoolInMemoryOfJames