Uttlesford cyclists take on French ride in footballer's memory
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 May 2015
Two fathers from the Dunmow Broadcast area are making their final preparations to cycle 340 miles from Lyon to Nice to raise money in memory of one of their friend's sons this weekend.
Martin Stace from Hatfield Heath and Will Beagles from White Roding will be joined by 10 friends in the ride through France. It will be the fourth consecutive year the team has undertaken a gruelling cycling challenge all in the memory of Tom Wall, who died of heart failure while playing football, aged just 14.
Chris Wall, Tom’s father, said: “After Tom’s death in 2011, I wanted to do something that not only paid tribute to the amazing person he was, but also something that would make a difference for other families who have experienced a similar tragedy of losing someone so young.”
In 2012 the group, called Tom Wall’s Troopers (TWT) took part in the London to Brighton Cycle Ride in aid of the British Heart Foundation.
After that, they decided to organise their own cycle rides to raise money for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), and each year they have set themselves increasingly bigger challenges.
In 2013 they cycled from London to Paris (288 miles), and last year from Paris to Lyon (320 miles). This weekend they will set out to cover the 340-mile route over the course of four days – an equivalent of cycling from Bishop’s Stortford to Norwich every day.
“Yes, it’s going to be a tough challenge for all of us, but we have been training hard at weekends and we are all looking forward to it,” said Chris. “Taking part in these cycling challenges has allowed us to raise a lot of money for CRY, but it has also done something else I hadn’t banked on.
“None of us are in the throws of our youth. When I look back at what we were like in 2012, and who we are now, it is amazing. We are a tighter-knit group of friends, and we are so much healthier. I’m certain we have all noticed the health benefits of being so active.”
When TWT first set out on a group cycle ride, it was a cold February morning. On that Sunday they managed to cycle seven miles. It was the furthest most of them had cycled for the best part of 30 years. They now cycle 40 miles most Sundays, and some rides have seen them clock up 80 miles.
Chris has started up a fundraising page. If you’d like to read more or donate please go to www.justgiving.com/tomwalltroopers