The childhood bike of Bolton’s Olympic hero, Jason Kenny, has gone on display in Bolton Central Library, in Le Mans Crescent.
Gold medallist Jason, who is from Farnworth, rode the Kona Main BMX as a teenager.
The red and black bike has been loaned to Bolton Library and Museum Services by fellow Farnworth resident Rob Tyler, who bought it at a local church auction.
Rob, who is married with two daughters, said: “My mum is a church warden at our Lady of Lourdes in Farnworth, which is the same church that Jason’s parents attend. I noticed his BMX was going up for auction, and I thought it would be a good way to help raise funds for the church.”
The 42-year-old admits he isn’t a keen cyclist himself and the bike has been ‘gathering dust’ in his garage ever since.
He added: “I had this idea in my head that I could donate it to the Jason Kenny Centre or Bolton Council but I struggled to find the right person to speak to. Then I decided to donate it to charity to raise funds for a good cause, but wanted to make one last phone call to the council before doing so – and that’s when I struck gold!”
On that last phone call, Rob was put in touch with the Library and Museum Services, who were only too pleased to take it off his hands.
Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Youth and Sport, Cllr John Byrne, said: “We are so glad Rob was put in touch with us as we love to help out in situations like this. Rob said he wanted the bike to hopefully inspire young people in the town, and show that to be a success at sport you don’t need the latest kit.
“Jason began his cycling career on a BMX – the type many 12-year-olds played out on in the street – and look at him now. He’s won three more gold medals in the Olympics to add to the three previous medals he won in London and Beijing. He’s Bolton’s very own sporting hero, and we’re extremely proud to have the opportunity to display the BMX he rode as a child.”
The bike was officially handed over to Cllr Byrne today, and is now affixed to the wall of the Children’s Library, with plans to transfer it to Farnworth Library at a later date.
Bolton Museum and Library Services also has on display a portrait of Bolton boxer and Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan in the Art Gallery, plus the Commonwealth medals of the country’s most successful amateur wrestler, Albert Aspen, on display in the Bolton Lives gallery.