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492 %
raised of £1,500 target
by 71 supporters
Friends of Vinnie Barker avatar
Friends of Vinnie Barker

Eels' London to Paris Cycling Challenge: 19-23 July 2017

I am cycling from London to Paris and fundraising for SHINE because I want to remember my nephew Vinnie

492 %
raised of £1,500 target
by 71 supporters


We offer specialist advice & practical help to all with spina bifida & hydrocephalus

Charity Registration No. 249338


My name is Michael Eley (aka Eels).  I am taking on the challenge to cycle from London to Paris in July 2017 to raise funds for Shine in memory of my nephew Vinnie Barker.

Vinnie died suddenly on 13 July 2012 aged 8 years. Months after his death his post-mortem confirmed that Vinnie had died of undiagnosed hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a rare but normally treatable condition that occurs when there is a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Shine is a charity supporting people and their families affected by Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus.

Unusually Vinnie remained asymptomatic of his condition, in fact up until the day of his death his body had simply compensated for his chronic illness.  An opportunity to detect his condition was missed during a routine eye examination and devastatingly Vinnie never
received the life saving surgery he urgently needed.

The memories of my nephew will be with me always; his smile, his energy for life, his love of football and Man City, our friendly tackles and his remarkable left foot action. Vinnie’s death shattered our family - the void will never heal and words cannot express the heartache we feel.

In the early days following Vinnie’s death, our family turned to Shine.

Shine helped us not only understand Vinnie’s condition but opened our eyes to a world where their support enables those living with and caring for those with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus get the best out of life.  In 2013 Vinnie’s story inspired ‘Shine Stars’; a new form or remembrance, a ‘wall of Stars’ in lasting memory of loved ones.

Soon after his death ‘Friends of Vinnie’ began fundraising for Shine
in his memory. Over the four years that an investigation into Vinnie’s death quietly progressed, we watched his friends embark on array of charity events from memorial football matches to sponsored walks. His school raised money and as his friends moved onto high school, their final farewell party paid tribute to Vinnie.

Our family are continually overwhelmed by the empathy, support and
generosity of friends and those who never even knew Vinnie.  As a family we now want
to both raise awareness of the importance
of eye health care
and build on the strong and meaningful
foundation that ‘Friends of Vinnie’ have begun. We aim to work endlessly to raise funds for Shine and keep the memory of our special little boy alive.

Your support is hugely appreciated, thank you. Anything you give will help Shine to help families like mine!

For more about Vinnie's story:

For more about Shine:

Shine provides specialist support from before birth and throughout the life of anyone living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus, as well as to parents, families, carers and professional care staff. Shine enables people to get the best out of life. Everything we do is made possible by our generous supporters. Your fundraising efforts help individuals and families in your local communities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Every donation has the potential for profound impact.THANK YOU for supporting Shine!


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