STEVE Parkin has thanked City fans for playing their part in raising £25,000 for a charity bike ride he joined in aid of Stephen Darby.

The former Bantams assistant manager says he and his fellow riders have been overwhelmed by the response to their coast-to-coast fundraising challenge for the Stephen Darby Foundation.

Parkin and former City boss Phil Parkinson - now both at the Bolton helm - remain popular among City supporters after a fruitful spell at the club which included League One play-off final glory and reaching the League Cup final in 2013.

Former City captain Darby announced his retirement from the game last September after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Parkin and Parkinson were joined on the ride from Workington to Cockermouth by former City chief scout Tim Breaker, as well as a host of Parkin's friends.

Parkin says former City skipper Darby was thankful for the support his charity has received from the ride. The current Bolton number two added the group of riders are looking to put aside the same time each year to take on further charity challenges in aid of Darby's cause.

The ride wasn't without its own problems, however, as the cycling group added an extra 12 miles onto their route for the first day after taking a wrong direction.

Parkin said: "It's amazing how much we have raised. It's quite mindblowing. It's been truly tremendous.

"When we set out we wanted to raise £7,500 and it just kept going up.

"Stephen was a seven out of 10 every single game. People should not forget about his skills, he was a fantastic footballer. People remember how committed he was when he played.

"He was there at the start of the ride and he was quite emotional about it.

"He wrote us a lovely card when we finished to say how thankful he was from the bottom of his heart. He was gobsmacked by how much money it has raised.

"It had to be a challenge that we took on. We couldn't just ask people for money. Stephen has been full-on with everything he has done in his life.

"So many people from Bradford have donated. I flicked through the messages on the Justgiving page.

"Lots and lots of people from Bradford have donated. Stephen was a special person in what was a special team. They have given their hard-earned cash.

"We will keep the Justgiving page for another three-and-half weeks.

"We're going to try to keep these dates free every year to do other things for the Foundation.

"We had a good crowd there at the finish. It gave us a sense of achievement. It was tough, there were some dark moments."

Darby had been due to take on the final stint on the Sunday, but due to other commitments, he couldn't be there.

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