On the eve of Anzac Day 2018 Tom Potts rode his much-loved mountain bike to the Condamine Medical Centre for a routine appointment. Tom had ridden his bike to many appointments over the years and always parked it in the same place at the front of the Medical Centre.
After his appointment Tom went to retrieve his bike and found it had been taken from where he had parked it.
Tom is no stranger to Warwick locals and was often seen riding his bike that was specially modified to tow a custom-made red cart painted white with the words ‘Potts Heavy Haulage’. Fortunately on the day the bike was taken the red cart was not attached. As Tom does not hold a driver’s licence his bike and cart are his usual means of daily transportation to and from his workplace at the Warwick Endeavour Foundation.
Obviously Tom was upset and after a search around the premises with several staff members it appeared that sadly Tom’s bike had in fact been stolen.
Police were called and a Facebook page was set up to make people aware and help find Tom’s missing bike. By Anzac Day hundreds of comments of support flowed through Facebook for Tom and more importantly a huge influx of people from local to interstate offered to contribute funds towards replacing Tom’s bike to the exact make and model. These offers came from offering individual amounts to the full amount just to see Tom be reunited with a replacement bike.
Many locals offered their own pre-used bikes, with one Warwick gentleman delivering his own pushbike to the Endeavour Centre for Tom to have the day after Anzac Day. The local Warwick Big W store, along with former and current staff members, also organised for Tom to come and choose a new bike from their store.
At this stage more and more offers of pre-used bikes in excellent near new condition kept coming through the pages of Facebook and to Tom’s family. With this also came many more offers of monetary donations to replace Tom’s bike along with several offers to purchase a brand new replacement bike of Tom’s choice. The overwhelming support for Tom was amazing and he and his family have been eternally grateful.
But Tom had saved very hard for a specific bike to carry the load of his ‘red trolley’ and when Tom was approached by local couple, Andrew and Rachel Williams, who knew Tom very well and with whom Tom had worked alongside offered to order the exact same brand and make if mountain bike that Tom had previously. Tom very graciously accepted this kind gesture.
With Tom’s new bike in hand Big W donated a new helmet and water bottle and of course the most important thing – a lockable tie for Tom’s bike.
Tom at this point suggested that the Medical Centre Facilities Carpark should install a bike rack so that he and other patients could stand and safely lock their bikes during visits to the FSD Health Centre. In the meantime Tom would lock his bike on the child’s playground fence where it remained safe.
Through once again a generous donation of a used bike from a local source and the kind gesture of a local man offering to give the bike rack a new lease of life with a new paint job, the bike rack Tom had been hoping for for 12 months came to be.
On Tuesday 23 April, almost the anniversary of Tom’s bike being taken, a bike rack was installed and Tom had the pleasure of cutting the ribbon and officially opening the Tom Potts Bike Rack.
Tom made a speech during the opening thanking the Condamine Medical Centre and FSD Health Centre doctors and staff for installing the bike rack and to kind donation of the local people who prepared and installed it.