MOTORCYCLISTS on vintage Japanese bikes have toured across Wiltshire to pay tribute to the nurses who cared for one of their number.

Blacksmith Hazel Withers, 46, of Kington Langley wanted to thank the Calne community care team of nurses for their care of her husband Les who died at home aged 75 of cancer last April.

Mrs Withers is a member of the Wiltshire branch of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club and so put together a sponsored tour for the bikers starting in Calne and ending 90 miles later at the Atwell-Wilson Car Museum.

"It was a very humbling day," she said, "as a lot of bikers turned up despite the forecast bad weather.

"The nurses deserve more recognition for their work.

"They turn up and do everything they can to help.

"When Les had his operation for bowel cancer he had a large wound.

"It needed to be dressed and treated and they would come and do everything possible. It was Les's wish to die at home and they made it possible with their support."

The 90 mile bike run on Sunday, June 9, raised £140 for the nurse team who said they would spend it on a new fridge for the team. NHS nurses, Sue Goodall, Jane Titchener and Selena Noakes met the riders outside the Landsdowne Hotel, and wished the bikers luck. They were led by Hazel as they sped off to the three White Chalk Horses, Wilton Windmill, Crofton Beam Engine, Avebury, Swindon and Cricklade Railway, Brinkworth and Maud Heaths Causeway.

Hazel chose the car museum as the end point as they have in their collection an Opel Manta car that was serviced by Les when he worked for Guy Everett at The Soho Garage.

She met Les in the 1980s when he was a motorcycle instructor with a passion for Japanese bikes including his Honda 400 four stroke although he also owned a Kawasaki 500. Later they married and set up a blacksmith business in 1994 creating traditional and contemporary items in mild steel. Despite the death of her husband Hazel continues to work as a blacksmith.

Hazel said it was an emotional day but also a fitting tribute. She said: "I immensely grateful that Les was able to die peacefully at home, due entirely to the devoted care that the team provided. I felt it was right to thank them in a way which would benefit all team members."