More than 100 bikers turn out for Grace O'Malley-Kumar Ride of Remembrance

Sanjoy and Sinead O'Malley-Kumar wearing Grace O'Malley-Kumar foundation shirts, with blue sky in front of parked motorbikes and Newark Showground
Grace's parents Sanjoy and Sinead drove from London for the event -Credit:Nottingham Post

Around 100 motorcyclists turned out in the sunshine for the Grace O'Malley Kumar Ride of Remembrance. Organised by PC Dave Merry, a family friend of the Kumar family, the ride took those involved from Essex all the way to Newark Showground, where they arrived at around 1.55pm on Sunday, May 19.

As part of the event, a blood transfusion service bike was unveiled with Grace's name in her own handwriting printed on the side, funded by money raised. The bike will be part of Blood Bike Nottinghamshire's fleet of bikes used to transport blood to various hospitals and emergency centres in urgent situations.

Among attendees were Grace's parents, Sanjoy and Sinead, who arrived in a car and greeted the many whom they knew with a hug.

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Sinead said: "It's so kind of people to be here. Ultimately, Grace was a little biker. She wasn't on one of these big machines but she loved riding her Vespa to the vaccination centre. It's wonderful to see all the emergency services out here represented too. It's very touching how supportive they've been of the whole event."

Sanjoy explained that Grace, who was killed aged 19 in the Nottingham Attacks, had taken a test to be able to ride a motorbike and saved up for a Vespa and insurance for it. She rode it "all the time", he said.

PC Merry met Sanjoy Kumar through the Metropolitan Police, where they both worked - Dr Kumar as a forensic medical examiner - and he had known Grace since she was young and saw her grow up into the "amazing young lady" she was.

He said: "Sanjoy opened the vaccination centre and I was a co-ordinator for the borough. I'd go down there every day and Grace would be there. She'd come up to me and put her arm around me and say: 'I feel really safe that you're here'. I told her that no matter what time of day, I'd always be there for her. Unfortunately on the 13th of June I wasn't.

Dave Merry, in hi-vis Grace O'Malley-Kumar foundation jacket, with fanta in hand on Tarmac at Newark Showground
Dave Merry, who organised the ride, said Grace was 'an inspiration' -Credit:Nottingham Post

"That really got to me. I'm a biker, Grace was a biker, so I decided to organise this. It's a really good turnout. I'm over the moon. So happy. We need her name to live on. Grace was an inspiration. Loving, fun, always up for a laugh and somebody you could always trust and talk to."

On a slideshow on the stage, photographs of Grace with her family played. Her blood bike was revealed by five volunteers along with her parents.

Sanjoy told the crowd: "I want to thank all of you for being here and supporting Grace's foundation. This bike is an enormous dedication from a heroic service to a heroic person who fought so valiantly. It really touches our heart.

Nottinghamshire Blood Bike volunteers with Sanjoy Kumar and Sinead O'Malley Kumar, and yellow-and-red emergency service coloured bike with photo of Grace O'Malley Kumar propped up in front
Sanjoy Kumar addressed the crowd after the Nottinghamshire Blood Bikes motorcycle with Grace's name on it was unveiled -Credit:Nottingham Post

"We lost Grace after she completed her first year in medical school. We really wanted her to be a doctor and be here to serve the people of Nottinghamshire. It meant so much to us and I can't tell you, she had the nicest year of her life in Nottingham. She was so happy to be here. It's a fantastic city. You are fantastic people. God bless you all."

Blood Bike Nottinghamshire volunteer Naomi McFadden said: "Today I feel happy because I feel what we've done has been amazing, the way it's turned out. After something terrible has happened, all you can do is this. On the way up from Essex, we kept looking at the other cars and thinking how many thousands for people will have seen our convoy.

Low shot from side of bikers riding into Newark Showground after their journey from Essex with blue sky above
Around 100 bikers congregated at Newark Showground after their journey from Essex -Credit:Nottingham Post

"Every one of our volunteers is going to want to ride this bike and keep her name in people's minds."

Three of the organising volunteers were University of Nottingham medical students Emilia Ikpe, Hotensia Mwangi and Sara El-Toukhy. They didn't know Grace, but being medical students like her, the attacks hit them hard, and got involved when after an email sent to them.

Hotensia said: "I saw myself in Grace and saw her in me. She was a medical student. And I'm into bikes like she was. What happened to her could've happened to any of us."

Volunteers (L-R) Emilia Ikpe, Sara El-Toukhy and Hotensia Mwangi on Tarmac at Newark Showground, with hi-vis jackets on, smiling with arms around each other
Volunteers (L-R) Emilia Ikpe, Sara El-Toukhy and Hotensia Mwangi didn't kno weach other before meeting at the event -Credit:Nottingham Post

Emilia said: "Her death really touched me. Anything could do to help out I thought I would. It happened just after exams and I remember thinking that she'd worked so hard and would never get to open her results."

And Sara said: "I used to live down Ilkeston Road. It's all really, really close to home. It's really nice to see so many come from so far away today and turn up."

And Ben and Emma Scott, from Sherwood, were two of the bikers. The pair met at Nottingham Trent University, and new to biking, this was their first group ride.

Ben said: "It was a great opportunity to be part of a ride for a good cause. The attacks were such a shock and almost shame for the city. We know Grace loved it and it's bittersweet that it's the place where it ended. It's such a shame."

Ben & Emma Scott with ice cream, and Ben with headscarf, behind motorbike with other motorbikes in background, on Tarmac at Newark Showground
Ben & Emma Scott said it was 'really nice' to be part of the remembrance ride -Credit:Nottingham Post

"Nottingham's not like that," added Emma, who is from Lincoln originally. "We've been here for seven years. It was really upsetting hearing what had happened because it put Nottingham on the map for all the wrong reasons. We wanted to say: This isn't Nottingham. This isn't us. It's really nice to support today."