Fundraising memorial bike ride in honour of young Yelverton sportsman's life cut short during cycling race
FRIENDS and colleagues of a talented sportsman are to pay tribute to him by holding a fundraising memorial ride.
Junior Heffernan, from Yelverton, died on March 3 at the aged of just 23 after his bike collided head-on with a car during the 41st annual Severn Bridge Road Race in Gloucestershire.
An accomplished triathlete, swimmer and cyclist, he had been tipped as a rising star and had begun racing for a team – Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes.com – for his skills as a "climber".
Robin Brew, director of swimming at Kelly College, Tavistock, where Junior attended and had been a member of the swimming squad, said he was "a young man with an extraordinary gift and capacity for hard work."
In response to the many lives Junior had touched and influenced, more than a hundred people have already signed up online to the memorial ride organised by friend and former triathlon training partner Steve Ferguson, and Junior's parents Bernard and Denise.
The event will take place on March 17, starting from Yelverton roundabout car park at 10am. The route will see cyclists pass Junior's family home then onto Burrator Reservoir. It will then incorporate at least one lap of the reservoir before heading back to Yelverton and finish at the Burrator Inn for light refreshments.
Steve said the ride would be open to all of Junior's friends and family, as well as any fellow cyclists, regardless of their ability. He said donations to the Junior Heffernan Memorial Appeal would be greatly appreciated and, along with money buckets on the day, people can donate online at http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/fundraiser/robinbrew/the-junior-heffernan-memorial-appeal-olympic-legacy-project
Steve said the young cyclist's parents knew Junior would have liked to have been remembered by people supporting the Kelly Olympic Legacy Pool Project.
He said: "This appeal will hopefully give many more promising young athletes the opportunity to develop their talents and enjoy the aspirations and dreams that he had already begun to fulfil."
On the charity giving site, a statement from Junior's parents notes: "This is a wonderful way for Junior to help others along the path that he was able to take. It gives us great pride and pleasure seeing and knowing our son will be remembered forever in his community."
Junior's funeral is set to take place at St Eustachius Church in Plymouth Road, Tavistock on March 20 at 1pm. After the service a reception will take place at Kelly College.
Avon and Somerset Police said their inquiries into the death of Junior were continuing.