Wolverhampton park gates damaged before charity bike ride begins
More than 650 cyclists set off on an annual charity bike ride from Wolverhampton to Aberdovey - but the start of the ride proved to be more dramatic than planned.
The cyclists set off from Wolverhampton's West Park at around 7am on Friday. So far, the amount raised for charity in the ride is £55,486, with organisers looking to beat last year's total of £153,000.
But the van delivering the cycles unwittingly caused damage to one of the stone pillars at the entrance of the park on its way in. It also tore a large strip out of the body of the white delivery van, leaving a jagged and gaping hole in the truck.
The pillar is located on the left of the Connaught Road entrance to the park. The entry of the van appeared to dislodge the triangular setting at the top of the pillar and caused debris to scatter and fall from the pillar itself.
The damage was spotted by passersby and people immediately took to social media to try to establish its cause.
Paul Wilson, lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton, posted his pictures of the damage on Facebook and said: "This is the Connaught Road entrance to West Park this morning, does anyone know what happened?"
Speaking after he spotted the damage, Paul, aged 56 of Compton, said: "I was surprised to see it looking like that.
"I don't know how historical the pillar is but I'm sure it's been there for some time. Clearly someone has been careless there."
Despite the damage caused to the pillar, the group set off on their bike ride from the central lake area of the park, passing through the damaged entrance on their journey which stretches a staggering 105 miles. Bike marshals helped the riders leave the city.
The annual bike ride has been running since 1992. Since 2014, organisers have also run a three or four day challenge leading up to the main ride.