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Cyclist Christopher 'Bill' Boxer fighting for his life after lorry hit-and-run near Brenzett was cycling across the UK in memory of niece

A cyclist fighting for his life after a hit-and-run crash with a lorry near Brenzett was riding around the UK to raise awareness for teenage suicide.

Christopher Boxer, who is known as Bill to his friends, set himself a 3,000-mile challenge after tragically losing his niece Melodie Pinckney who was just 14 when she took her own life in January last year.

He stopped at a Buddhist temple Milton Keynes with his bike named 'Braders', after Sir Bradley Wiggins
He stopped at a Buddhist temple Milton Keynes with his bike named 'Braders', after Sir Bradley Wiggins

He had 156 miles of his journey left and was heading home to Brookland for a weekend break to celebrate his 61st birthday with his friend and nephew when he was struck on the A259 on Friday, December 10.

Mr Boxer was flown to King's College Hospital in London where he is still receiving ongoing care for serious injuries.

His sister, Janet Callingham, says she wants people to know about her brother's incredible challenge so his work raising awareness can continue.

Mrs Callingham said: "Chris was really close to Melodie, he found it quite hard to deal with it when she passed away.

"As much as there wasn't anything he could do, for his own peace of mind and sanity, he decided to go on his bike around the country, not raising money, but raising awareness and talking to people that he met along the way.

Mr Boxer started his 3,000 mile journey earlier this year
Mr Boxer started his 3,000 mile journey earlier this year

"He was visiting churches, landmarks and pubs, and people were following him and spurring him on.

"He met up with policemen, vicars, and anybody who would talk to try and get them to look out for people, and be kind to each other.

"People offered to donate money, but he just wanted to raise awareness and also help his mental health to try and feel like he's making a difference.

"He wasn't just a bloke on a bike, he was doing something great."

Since starting his journey at the beginning of the year, Mr Boxer passed through places such as Stonehenge, Milton Keynes and Lincolnshire taking pictures at landmarks along the way to document his journey on social media.

His niece Melodie Pinckney loved animé
His niece Melodie Pinckney loved animé

While in Lincolnshire, he met up with three dads who lost their daughters to suicide who were completing a 300-mile walk in their memory, while raising money for suicide prevention charity Papyrus.

He cycled some of his journey, on his bike affectionately named 'Braders' after Sir Bradley Wiggins, alongside the trio known as Three Dads Walking.

Mr Boxer, who grew up in Folkestone, is one of nine siblings, and has a son called Billy.

They have been visiting his bed side while he recovers but the extent of his injuries when he eventually wakes up is not yet known.

Mrs Callingham added: "We’re not sure what’s going to happen, he's got a bleed on the brain, his ribs are broken, he’s broken vertebrae in his back, all his internal organs were pushed up into his chest and it has totally destroyed his pelvis and his hips.

Mr Boxer visited landmarks along the way
Mr Boxer visited landmarks along the way

"He’s on a ventilator at the moment to breathe for him so everything else can rest.

"We can talk to him but whether he can hear us or not, we don't know."

The lorry driver involved in the accident failed to stop at the scene.

A man in his 70s from East Sussex was arrested but has since been released under investigation.

Officers are now appealing for dashcam footage of the crash.

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call the serious collision investigation unit on 01622 798538 quoting reference SM/DH/138/21.

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