FOR a quarter of a century, John Wilson helped to fix people’s bikes at his shop in Oxford.

But last year he was forced to hand over the running of Walton Street Cycles after developing a brain tumour at the age of 52.

Mr Wilson died earlier this month and, following a family funeral in Scotland on Wednesday, staff at the shop are preparing their own special tribute by cycling from his old Oxford college to his favourite pub tomorrow.

Mr Wilson was forced to retire in October after a major operation.

But after 25 years running the business, he did not want it to fold and it has now been taken over by five local businessmen.

Jim Kilminster, 29, who has worked at the shop for the past eight years, said: “Everyone here is saddened by John’s death.

“He was such a big character and very well known across Oxford.

“We knew John had a brain tumour so in a way we were expecting this but it has still come as quite a shock.

“John went to Balliol College, so a group of us will be meeting at a memorial service at the college at midday and afterwards we will cycle to the Queen’s Head in Eynsham, which was his favourite pub.

“John lived in Farmoor but he often used to go over to the pub in Eynsham. John travelled around a lot on his bike so we think this fitting way to remember him.

“The shop is now being run by a group of friends.”

Mr Kilminster and his colleagues at the shop have been looking through the shop’s archives to find old pictures of Mr Wilson at work.

The shop opened 35 years ago, and six years ago the cycle workshop moved from Walton Well Road to Cranham Terrace.

Labour city councillor Susanna Pressel said: “John was a friend of mine so I was very sad when he died.

“It was sad to see his health declining in the past year or two and I tried to help with the plans for the shop to be taken over as a local cooperative.

“In the end, the business was bought by five local businessmen and John wanted it to continue as a responsive local shop.

“I’m pleased that the shop is continuing in the way John would have wished. John was also a very active member of the local Labour Party so there will be lots of Labour Party members at the humanist memorial service.”