THE Paphos community is rallying round a terminally ill cancer patient to help him fulfil the wishes on his ‘bucket list’.
After Billy Hardy’s list was highlighted by the Cyprus Mail, three Paphos companies came forward and offered their goods and services for free to help Billy fulfil his wishes and give the cancer patient a much-needed boost. Three weeks ago, doctors gave unsuspecting Hardy, 77, just four months to live following a scan which found he was suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer.
On Tuesday, bikers from around Cyprus gathered to surprise Hardy and helped to fulfil his top wish on his bucket list: to ride on a Harley Davidson motorbike.
“My dad couldn’t believe it, he was overwhelmed and so were we. This is something we will always remember and we have made some wonderful new friends,” daughter Dawn Meeham told the Cyprus Mail on Wednesday.
She added that the feeling of community spirit in Paphos has been heart-warming, and that the family was stunned by the support and friendship of so many strangers.
Devastated by the diagnosis, the retired furniture maker mentioned to his daughter and her husband a number of things on his ‘bucket list’ that he wants to complete before he dies.
Top of the list was to ride a Harley Davidson. Son in law Tim Meeham put out a request on social media which prompted biker Paul Carter, a member of the Blue Knights International law enforcement bikers club, to call on his fellow bikers and arrange an entire event.
In all, 22 bikers turned up in Peyia, along with a crowd of 40 well-wishers, most of whom had never met him. Carter described the retired furniture maker as a ‘top bloke and really special.’
“I wanted to do something to help and to make a difference in this man’s life even though I didn’t know him. He’s got a great sense of humour and is a real character, all of us wanted to give him a show of support,” he said.
Cypriot bikers were also in the procession and ‘Marios Choppers’ closed his shop for the day to ride along with some of his friends and spend time with Billy.
They gave Billy a Harley Davidson T-shirt and cap and one of them loaned him his leather biker vest to wear for the day. Harley biker Phil Scates, carried the unsuspecting Billy from Tala to Peyia, where he thought his treat had ended, but this was just the start of a special day. Hordes of bikers and a truck complete with flags drove around the corner to meet him and then drove in procession up to Latchi and back, down to the Hogshead pub in Paphos, where the owners gave him lunch and drinks on the house.
“It was such a huge adrenalin rush for my dad and a very special day for him. He is starting to get very tired and only eats a tiny amount, so the news that people are helping him to do his bucket list is really wonderful,” said his daughter.
The bucket list also includes taking part in a fishing trip, being a cowboy for a day and singing songs round a campfire on a camping trip. Paphos businesses have rallied round to make Billy’s wishes come true.
Colin and Lilia Barden who own and operate ‘Paphos Sports Fishing’ have offered to take Billy and his family out on a fishing trip aboard the Evening Star next week, to help him fulfil one of his other bucket list wishes.
The trip will fish for tuna in and around Paphos harbour.
“We wanted to help as my father died from bowel cancer only ten days after being diagnosed, and we wanted to do something positive for Billy and his family,” said the philanthropic fisherman.
‘George’s Ranch’ in Peyia also stepped forward to offer the family a sunset ride to the stunning sea caves, returning for drinks and champagne at the ranch with staff, helping to fulfil Hardy’s wish to be a cowboy for a day.
“We are all really happy that we can do something for the family and staff will lead the horses which will walk, so it won’t be too much for him,” ranch owner Caroline Scambler said.
And ‘Yurts in Cyprus’, found in the beautiful countryside of Simou, have invited Billy and his family to stay in the yurts for a night, after first enjoying dinner and singing songs around a fire pit. In the morning, they will enjoy breakfast in the open air, said manager Rene Skroch.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to offer this experience to Billy and his family and I’m also really looking forward to meeting him and getting to know him,” he said.