CYCLISTS in Formby rode as many miles as they could in just 24 hours to raise money in memory of a much-loved Dad-of-two and police inspector who died in a devastating bike accident.
Merseyside Police officer Graeme Rooney, 51, was cycling in Altcar, near Formby, when he was involved in a collision with a van in June 2020. Sadly he died shortly after arriving at Aintree Hospital.
He was a popular member of local club Formby Velo. His friends and fellow club members held the Ride4Graeme challenge from noon on May 23 to noon on May 30. Graeme was a passionate Everton fan, so his friends will be raising money for Everton in the Community, a wonderful charity that was close to his heart.
So far they have raised over £9,000, with people urged to donate all they can.
Formby Velo said: “Twelve months ago, on June 2, 2020, Graeme Rooney died in a tragic accident whilst out riding his bike with his club Formby Velo. Graeme was many things to many people - not least a loving dad, son and husband - and to us he was simply a top bloke and one of the lads.
“Graeme loved his long endurance rides and in his day had ridden solo to Paris as well as completing the Tommy Godwin challenge of over 200 miles in a single day.
“We wanted to celebrate Graeme and his riding by taking on our own endurance challenge as a club - Collectively Ride As Many Miles As We Can In 24 Hours.
“This is not just about a few doing a lot, it's about everyone in the club and the wider cycling community riding as many miles as they want in memory of Graeme. It's not a race, it's about everyone riding as many miles as they wish in memory of a great bloke and fellow cyclist.”
A spokesperson for Formby Velo said: “Graeme was a long serving police officer and part of the community liaison with both Everton and Liverpool football clubs. He was a big Blue though! Everton in the Community is a wonderful charity that leads the way in the community which was close to Graeme's heart.”
Paying tribute last year, former Merseyside Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke said his team was "devastated" by the loss of Mr Rooney, who had been given a Superintendent's Commendation.
Mr Cooke said: "The phrase an officer and a gentleman... sums Graeme up perfectly. He was a proud family man and a committed and professional officer who just got on with the job."
He said Mr Rooney, who served the force for 27 years, was a "Merseyside Police officer through and through" and "loved working the football and big events".
Mr Rooney had been an Inspector at Walton Lane police station, and his team there were "devastated".
He said the father-of-two had received a Superintendent's Commendation for professionalism, initiative and courage following the arrest and conviction of a man with a loaded firearm.
In a statement at the time, his family said: "Graeme was much loved by his wife and children, extended family friends and colleagues. He will be sadly missed by all."
To add to the donations, go to https://is.gd/ISVlwJ