A member of the Leadgate Salvation Army, who also belongs to a motorcycle group known for donning Viking attire, has organised a charity fundraising event featuring a themed coffee morning and a fun day.

Liz Bailey, an Adherent who cooks at the church and charity’s Nice Bites café, which serves up to 80 people a week, recently hosted an event at The Salvation Army with the Biking Vikings North East, a group of motorcycle riding, stilt walking, pipe and drum playing Vikings, who bring joy and happiness to the community while raising money for a good cause.

Kind-hearted Liz, who also co-ordinates the Salvation Army’s monthly donations to the local food bank, leads the Singing by Heart group at a nearby residential home and plays the cornet in the Salvation Army band, became involved in the Biking Vikings to help raise £50,000 for Brain Tumour Research in memory of Adam Forster, a local farmer who died from a tumour in 2014 at the age of 42.

With the help of Leadgate Salvation Army volunteers, Liz and the Biking Vikings put on a fun coffee morning, providing drums for children so they could join in and get a certificate and medal as honorary Biking Vikings. There were props for dressing up and having photos taken, axe throwing, wind up wooden puppets and stalls selling cakes and merchandise, which raised more than £400 for Brain Tumour Research.

Leadgate's Biking Vikings: A Themed Fundraiser for Brain Tumour Research
Biking Vikings at Leadgate Salvation Army

“Leadgate Salvation Army is at the heart of the local community and regularly hosts coffee mornings to raise money for good causes in the community as well as The Salvation Army. It was lovely to bring the Biking Vikings to the church to provide a fun day out with a lot of laughs.

“I got involved with the group after meeting Adam’s dad Terry, a local retired farmer who regularly helps out at The Salvation Army, helping move furniture for us, picking up deliveries for the food bank and bringing lambs into the Sunday school.

“We travel round on bikes drumming and playing music dressed as Vikings. Terry is often on stilts playing a specially adapted set of border pipes, so we have become quite well known in the area! Terry, along with his daughter Kerry and her family, were determined to raise £50,000 for Brain Tumour Research and although we’ve now surpassed that target, we’re not going to stop. We couldn’t save Adam, but the money we raise might just fund the day that they make the big breakthrough and that’s what keeps us going.”


Leadgate Salvation Army, in Green Street, runs a number of activities including Nice Bites Lunch Club, a craft club, coffee mornings and worship.

“I volunteer because I know not everybody is as lucky as I have been in my life. I have a loving family around me, I don’t need help with food and shelter, but I know there are people who don’t have that. It could be as basic as they don’t have company so one of the things about the Nice Bites Café is that people come as much for the company as they do for the food.”

Liz, who joined The Salvation Army when she was 14

“We are privileged to have a community of members like Liz and volunteers like Terry, who give up their time to help others at The Salvation Army.

“As a church and charity we think it is so important to support local causes as we are supported by them. Not only that, but by hosting the Biking Vikings, it provided a day of fun and free family friendly activities for the community. There was a great atmosphere with lots of laughs being had as well as raising money for a good cause.”

Captain Sarah Johnson, who leads Leadgate Salvation Army

For more information on Leadgate Salvation Army visit https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/leadgate or search for them on Facebook.

Text VIKING to 70460 to donate £3 to Brain Tumour Research. Texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message.   

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