A BRAVE biker fought off storm conditions to complete a fundraising trek across Europe in memory of his grandson.

Steve Chinnock, whose grandson died during heart surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, biked 3,500 miles through France, Switzerland and Italy to raise money for the children's unit at the hospital.

Along with seven others, the 42-year-old from Stratton arrived home after having to ride through severe storms to complete their seven-day trek in time.

The ride was the second of Mr Chinnock's fundraising feats in memory of Jaidon Vines, who lost his battle against a congenital heart disease in June, 2004, just before his first birthday.

Together with friends and a support van donated by George White Super-bikes, Mr Chinnock has already raised £3,000 for the hospital when he made a similar trip across Europe last year.

The devoted family man said: "The weather in Italy was horrendous and completely unexpected. There were trees falling down across the road. When the storm kicked in it looked more like Beirut than Italy."

To celebrate the safe return of the group, Mr Chinnock and fellow biker Rick Casey organised a fundraising fun day at the Premier Club in Stratton yesterday.

"We had a funfair, disco, bouncy castle, barbecue, raffles and games. We hope to raise £4,000 in total from the trek and the fun day," Mr Chinnock said.

The group, which included Jaidon's father, John Morgan, of Inglesham Road, Penhill, left the UK on Friday, May 26, and arrived back in time for the welcome home party.

"It's good to be back," Mr Chinnock said.It was a nice experience but it was really tough.

"I was doing it for my grandson of course and I'm really pleased with how it went.

"The storm didn't help though. I didn't take my waterproofs and when the bad weather came in I had to tuck dustbin liners into my riding suit. It wasn't very comfortable."

As well as the poor weather conditions, the team was diverted over the Alps and had to ride at high altitudes after a bridge that they were heading for was closed.

"One of the bikes broke down in the storm as well, but apart from that everything ran really smoothly,' said Mr Chinnock.

"Everyone got on really well and it was a real team effort,"

Team members were in good spirits on their return and admitted they were looking forward to getting back to the British life way of life.

Mr Chinnock said: "I missed my English breakfasts and a decent cup of tea. I don't know how they can survive over there."

Fresh from the success of the trek, Mr Chinnock has already begun preparations for next year when he hopes to tour America.