Author Trisha Bridger is to dedicate her second book to the memory of speedway rider Lee Richardson who died in a track crash in Poland.
Before his death Lee had agreed to help promote the speedway book, which is aimed at children.
Following his death, Lee’s father, Colin has agreed to endorse the book which it is hoped will be launched during the British Grand Prix weekend in Cardiff. There will be a book signing in the city's Waterstones shop.
Trisha, from Uckfield, said: “When I contacted Lee about the book he gave me a positive response and said how much he loved it. He was excited on learning he was in the story’s illustrations and agreed to help me promote it.
“Of course, now sadly, it will be dedicated to his memory but also as a tribute to him that will live on with future generations through literature.”
Trish wrote her first book, Why Can’t I Fly for her young daughter Niamh, who has Type 1 diabetes and published it to raise money for Diabetes UK.
She has promoted the book strongly and attended more than 60 author signings in Waterstones bookshops as well as giving readings at schools and other children’s groups.
Money raised by the new book will be split between Diabetes UK and the Speedway Riders’ Benevolent Fund.
Top riders are supporting the book, including world champion, Greg Hancock, Australian international GP star, Chris Holder, six-times British speedway champion Scott Nicholls, three-times British champion Chris Harris, up-and-coming Swedish rider Dennis Andersson, who rides for Poole, Wolverhampton star Tai Woffinden and Trisha's nephew Lewis Bridger who rides for Eastbourne.
Greg Hancock said: “It truly is an amazingly told story. I think it is awesome.
“Speedway is a lifelong sport for me and started just after my infant days of life. My father took me to speedway for the first time when I was about four years old and I still can't imagine a day without it.
“This sport kept me away from all the other bad habits that come upon any youngster throughout a lifetime. I am grateful for that and encourage many to do the same. I grew up playing with all the small speedway bikes in the dirt behind our house followed by imitating my favourite riders while sliding around in the alley, schools or parks with my friends.
“To have a children's book which illustrates the sport to a “T” is the icing on the cake. I will get a kick out of sharing and reading “Speedway” to my kids and I am sure that you will too.
“The author Trisha Bridger deserves great credit for this and gives us all a constant reminder of what a great sport Speedway is. The book is also a great tribute to RICO.”
Alex Harkness, chairman of the British Speedway Promoters’ Association, said: “The author brings out the excitement of the sport to children of all ages and it should be a big hit with them as they imagine themselves racing for the finishing line. Beautifully illustrated.”
The book emphasises the world-wide nature of speedway racing and a spokesman for the World Speedway Riders’ Association said: “You can never start speedway too young. Lots of supporters enrol their new-born babies into their local team’s supporters club. It is such an exciting sport that very young children become addicts and attend meetings on a regular basis.
“As an association we hope that some of these youngsters will take up the sport themselves and help keep the line going. The idea of a book aimed specifically at children is a great idea and we are sure that it will be enjoyable to read and learn from and we are thrilled to give any support that we can to this very good cause which will be raising money for The Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund and Diabetes charity.”
The new book called “Speedway” is a lyrically rhyming story which takes the reader on the exciting journey through the Sport of Speedway.
“Have you heard of Speedway? you may or may have not! it's a sport with motorbikes, that race around alot!…” .
The book is filled with fun and surprises and has an inspirational underlying message that anything is possible, such as becoming world champion one day. And Lee Richardson’s father, Colin, took up that theme when he voiced his support for the project.
He said: “There was once a little boy called Lee Richardson who rode his miniature speedway boke every week on the kids’ track at Eastbourne.
“When was eight years old, a kids programme for TV interviewed him while they were making a documentary about junior speedway racing and asked him what do you want to be when you grow up.
“His answer was: ‘I want to be world champion one day.’
“Lee practised hard, learnt well and in 1999 became the World Under 21 Speedway Champion.
“He loved to race. Just think what you could do if you really try hard.”
Targeted primarily at pre-school and beginner readers, it will appeal to all children.
Available at £7.99 from all good book shops, Waterstones Bookshops and online, Amazon, and World Wide on-line.
Trisha said: “I am thrilled to be able to bring this amazing sport to the younger generations through literature whilst raising money for charities that I am passionate about and at the same time helping to keep Lee Richardson's memory alive.”