A teenager who was left distraught after a group of boys stole his bike was overjoyed after his team-mates surprised him with a new one.
Malachi McKenzie, 13, a member of rugby league team Newsome Panthers under 13s, attended training last month on his bike – a recent birthday present.
He had cycled over three miles from his home in Golcar and was on his way back home when he was stopped by a group of older boys who threatened him and took his bike.
Panthers manager Cherie Myers said: “He came to training on his bike due to his mum, Dawn Brooke, having an extremely busy life at the moment as she has just given birth to twins and is now a mum to five children.
“She works full-time and after giving birth cannot drive for six weeks.
“Malachi has been playing rugby since he was six and his ability, commitment and loyalty to the game and the club is second to none.
“During a changing room meeting while Malachi was out of the room our 16 other players were talking among themselves regarding how to help Malachi get a new bike.
“They decided to approach their parents and ask if they could chip in out of their own pocket money to get him a bike.
“As parents we all felt very emotional about it and were overwhelmed with the thought of 12 and 13-year-old boys wanting to help their team-mate out to that extent.”
On Sunday Halfords presented the bike to Malachi who was totally unaware of what was being planned.
The 17 boys gave £15 each and coaches and parents also put some money into the collection.
Staff at Halfords were so touched by the story that they gave Malachi his bike for free and told the boys to take their money back and enjoy some fun and team bonding together.
Cherie added: “We told Malachi we were going to Halfords on Bradford Road because they were going to sponsor us and we needed to have a picture taken.
“To be honest he was just stunned and didn’t know what to say. His mum has messaged me to say he is overwhelmed.”
She said the police have been involved but the bike has not been returned.