Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting IGNEWS to 80360, or email
Otley man is off on bike pilgrimage
4:27pm Thursday 28th February 2013 in Local news
A man who takes disabled children on pilgrimages is going the extra mile this year to raise cash for the trips.
James Gilmartin, right, is saddling-up to cycle across the Pyrenees mountains in March instead of taking his usual flight.
The children, along with other members of Keighley’s Handicapped Children’s Pilgrimage Trust, will travel by plane.
James, who now lives in Shipley but was born and brought up in Otley, is a volunteer helper with the charity, which has for many years taken young people from Keighley to the holy shrine at Lourdes.
James will travel to France a week before this year’s pilgrimage, then ride 540 miles from Paris across the foothills of the Pyrenees.
The Keighley group flies out from the UK on March 30 to Lourdes, where James will meet with members and take up his usual role as a carer.
As a child in Otley, James went to Lourdes each year with his family’s church before they teamed up with the Keighley trust’s party.
James’s sister, Claire, went on to marry David Jessop, son of the Keighley party’s leader Pam Jessop, while James met his own wife, Emma, when she was visiting Lourdes with her university.
James, who will ride through the Pyrenees with ten members of other Pilgrimage Trust groups, said Emma would be in his support party.
He added: “Initially, Emma was joining me on the bike but, unfortunately, she has had to withdraw due to a hip injury.”
Anyone who wishes to sponsor James should visit the justgiving.com/gilmartincycle2013 website.