By Shelley Topp
Sarah Lewis, who gave a eulogy during the public memorial service for Peter Allen last week, is organising a fundraiser for the Motor Neuron Disease Association.
Peter, a highly regarded Waimakariri District councillor, Rangiora-Ashley Community Board member, educator, Rotarian and community leader died on August 30 after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND) in April this year.
His memorial service was held in the Rangiora Town Hall auditorium but when that became full the remainder of the people who attended were ushered into the smaller theatre next door where the service was streamed live on to the big screen.
The large attendance was a huge mark of respect for Peter from the community he loved and worked tirelessly for.
“Peter loved mountain biking,” Sarah said.
This year he competed in the North Canterbury Sport and Recreation Trusts annual mountain bike race fundraiser, The Rakahuri Rage, which was held in March along the Ashley-Rakahuri River.
“During this race Peter came off his bike and had trouble getting back up again,” Sarah said.
“In the weeks following he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. That race was the last time Peter rode his bike.
“To honour Peter’s memory and to remember his love of mountain biking I have organised an informal charity MTB (mountain bike) ride with all proceeds going to the Motor Neuron Disease Association,” she said.
Sarah, who is a Rangiora-Ashley Community Board member, began a popular women’s mountain bike and walking group called the Waimakariri women’s MTB and Walking Group in April 2016.
“I wanted to show women the fabulous mountain bike tracks and walking tracks we have here in the Waimakariri district and also our neighbouring Hurunui district,” she said.
The group is for women 18 years and over and now holds the interest of nearly 1000 women from all over North Canterbury.
“Over summer time we do one or two winery walks up in the Hurunui District,” Sarah said.
“It’s a great opportunity for women to enjoy time for themselves with other like-minded women.”
She is hoping that some of the women in the group will take part in the MND fundraiser which will be held on the Rakahuri Rage track, starting at 9.30am on Sunday, November 12.
The informal ride is open to both men and women.
“We will meet at the corner of River Road and West Belt in Rangiora and then we will direct you over to the stop bank where the ride will start.”
The track is about 10 kilometres and each participant will complete one circuit.
“This track was the last track Peter rode and I felt it appropriate that this would be where we hold this charity ride.
“I will have a bucket to collect donations from all the riders prior to the start of the ride. We will have a few people lead the ride and we will also provide a tail end charlie for those who are unfamiliar with the track and it’s direction.”
Peter’s family have given their full support for the event.