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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Cumbrian floods hero given surprise superbike

Three years after his heroics averted disaster in the Cumbrian floods, Brendan Pickering now has something to smile about.

After being chosen to appear on ITV’s Surprise Surprise where he met his hero, world superbike champion Carl Fogarty, Brendan is now the proud owner of his own racing motorcycle.

He was presented with a top-of-the-range 1,000cc Honda CBR Fireblade RR at a special handover ceremony in Carlisle yesterday

Brendan’s quick-thinking actions to divert people and stop traffic using Northside Bridge in Workington as it started to crumble in the floods of November 2009 were recognised by the makers of Surprise Surprise.

Motorbike fanatic Brendan, 50, of Northside in Workington, was shocked when the spotlight fell on him during Sunday night’s show.

Struggling to speak with the emotion, Brendan told the audience what he did in the early morning of November 20 2009 before presenter Dave Berry introduced him to his own hero, world superbike champion Carl Fogarty.

Brendan had thought he was going to the filming of comedy Mrs Brown’s Boys during a weekend away in London but was tricked into the studio by his wife Julie and friends Jimmy and Sandra Dixon.

The superbike superstar went on to give 50-year-old Brendan two tickets to next summer’s World Superbike Round at Silverstone before the final surprise – presenting him with the bike he was sitting on.

The show was filmed in ITV’s central London studios three weeks ago and yesterday Brendan and Julie went to the Honda motorcycle showroom at Kingstown in Carlisle to officially receive the bike.

Principal dealer Anthony Connelly handed over the keys of the 20th anniversary special edition, which retails at £11,500.

Sellafield labourer Brendan was nominated for the surprise by Jimmy.

Together they have been gathering testimonials and facts to assist researchers without Brendan’s knowledge.

Julie said: “I’ve been knocking on strangers’ doors, people who had sent Brendan letters who had been driving that morning, and asking them what they had to say about it.

Brendan, who has three children and three grandchildren, said: “The memories will never go away. I walk that bridge every day.

“I remember just when they opened the new bridge recently. I walked across it early in the morning, as I do every day, and the wreath that had been put down there in memory of Bill Barker had blown across the road so I picked it up and put it back. Just that alone made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.”

He added: “I had no idea about Surprise Surprise. When we went in I asked Jimmy if we were seeing Cilla Black. I got told just to sit down and enjoy it.

“When Foggy came out I didn’t see his name on his helmet and leathers but when I saw him I spoke to him as if I’d known him for years.

“It was a pleasure to meet him and I was over the moon just to get the tickets. I can’t believe he gave me the bike too.”

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