Baldock man’s charity bike ride after family reunion

A FATHER-OF-TWO is set to embark on a sponsored cycle ride for the Salvation Army in appreciation of the charity finding his mother and sister after 40 years.

Richard Knight, from Baldock, lost contact with his mother and sister in 1973, when Richard was six years old.

The 45-year-old said: “We were on a family holiday; my sister was about 18 months old and my parents had a big argument. The next morning my dad told me we were going for a drive and that was the last time I saw my mum and sister. He never spoke of them again.”

Forty years later, Richard got in touch with the Salvation Army’s Family Tracing Service.

“I had been thinking about fining my mum for some time and then one day I made a conscious decision to do something about it,” he said.

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The service, which was set up in 1885, required Richard to provide his mother’s maiden name, her age and an approximate date of birth.

“The last known address for my mother had been in Newport Pagnell in 1980. The Salvation Army managed to locate my mother three weeks after I had made an enquiry.

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“They told me to write a letter to my mother which they would post to her. I sent the letter and heard back from her three weeks later.”

Richard said meeting his mother after 40 years was an “indescribable moment”.

“I’ll remember it for the rest of my life, it was the most nerve-racking experience of my life,” he added.

For Richard, meeting his mother was a chance to draw a line under the past and look to the future.

“Up until meeting my mother I had a very small family which was just my wife, mother-in-law, my twin girls and my father and all of a sudden my family virtually doubled overnight and I discovered my sister again, met my cousins and discovered nephews and nieces as well as a half-brother,” said Richard.

A keen cyclist, Richard decided to raise money for the Salvation Army as a thank you for bringing his family together.

He will start his journey next Thursday by cycling down to Land’s End from Penzance and then up to John’O Groats via the west coast. He will then cycle down from John’O Groats back home to Baldock via the East coast.

Richard’s last stop will be at his mum’s house before he heads home.

If you would like to support Richard, visit ViaJohnOGroats

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