A dedicated cycling instructor who has helped thousands of residents to discover the joys of riding is gearing up for a well-earned retirement.

Jill Bissell, who has worked at Wokingham Borough Council for 15 years, has seen the borough win national recognition for the high standard of its schools training.

She has also been praised for getting more women into riding as a Champion for British Cycling’s Breeze scheme, for which she has led more than 150 rides, and in 2017 she was named 16th on Cycling UK’s list of the 100 most inspirational women in cycling.

A spokesman for the council said it was grateful for her contributions, which have played a huge part in its aim to promote active and environmentally sustainable alternatives to driving.

A spokesman said: "Jill has expertly managed the borough's Bikeability schools training programme for many years, successfully applying for funding from the Department for Transport and ensuring it is spent effectively.

"After introducing Bikeability in 2010/11, all local primary-aged pupils are now offered the chance to learn to maintain and control their bikes as well as riding safely alongside others on the roads.

"Thanks to Jill’s hard work, the council was invited to pilot the enhanced Bikeability Plus scheme in 2016 and present its findings at a national training conference.

"This involved offering a range of additional activities and was funded by a substantial grant, allowing the council to buy its first batch of balance bikes, helmets and other equipment."

In 2020, it won the Bikeability Trust’s Local Authority Partner of the Year award with 100 per cent of primary schools receiving training, including 80 per cent of year 6 children.

Jill also teaches on the council's Learn to Ride children's sessions and runs a weekly balance bike club for two- to four-year-olds, as well as leading rides for over-55s and inclusive cycling sessions.

At her final balance bike club session, she was presented with cards and gifts by thankful staff and parents - and one former pupil joined her for a victory lap of the track at My Journey's Summer Bike Bonanza in Finchampstead.

Jill, who steps down at the end of August, said: “I've really enjoyed meeting such a wide range of people over the years and watching them become more capable and confident riders.

"It's also been a real pleasure working with the My Journey Wokingham team and I'm sure they'll continue to build on our successes so far.”

Cllr Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, transport and highways, said: “Jill has been a shining example of everything we want to accomplish in this area - though we also recognise the importance of providing more safe and suitable routes, which we hope to achieve over years to come through our Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan.” in Wokingham Borough, including resources like travel maps, visit https://www.myjourneywokingham.com.