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4Ed campaign launches with next week's Ed Slater charity cycle

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

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Ed Slater is to embark on a 350-mile charity cycle from Kingsholm to Welford Road Mattioli Woods and back via a number of other rugby ground stops just weeks after it was revealed that the 34-year-old Gloucester lock had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), bringing a sudden end to his distinguished rugby career.

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It was July 21 when the forward’s Gallagher Premiership club revealed the shock diagnosis. “Gloucester Rugby is deeply pained to announce that Ed Slater has been diagnosed with MND. Following six months of testing, Ed’s diagnosis was confirmed last week and, as a result, with the support of his family, friends and Gloucester, he has made the difficult decision to retire from professional rugby with immediate effect.”

Slater took to social media the following day to thank people for their supportive reaction to the dreadful news. “It gives me and my family a huge amount of strength in a time of sadness for us. I will meet this challenge head-on. Ultimately I can’t win but I will fight with everything. Hope is not lost.”

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4Ed, a fund-raising and an MND awareness campaign, has now been set up and next Monday, August 8, will see Slater and a group of current and former rugby players cycling from his current club’s ground to Leicester, the club he was at from 2010 to 2017.

A statement read: “Following the announcement that Ed has been diagnosed with MND, Gloucester and the 34-year-old have set up the 4Ed campaign, which will initially work to raise awareness of Ed’s diagnosis and generate funds for his treatment and support of his young family.

“The 4Ed campaign will start with a 350-mile cycle from Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium to Leicester’s Welford Road Mattioli Woods, where the lock spent seven years – two as captain. After an overnight stay, the group will head off to Milton Keynes, Ed’s hometown, to visit his first club, Milton Keynes RFC. Following a refuel, the cyclists will then set off for Twickenham Stadium, arriving on August 9 before heading back to Gloucester on Wednesday, August 10.

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“Ed will be joined by Lewis Ludow, Fraser Balmain and Billy Twelvetrees, as well as former Gloucester players Alex Brown, Charlie Sharples and Jim Hamilton. Ed’s close friend, Joe Gorman, as well as his brother Andy Slater will also join the group alongside Tommy Turner from Gloucester and former Nottingham RFC teammate Sam Raven.

“Supporters are encouraged to come and cheer the riders off as they depart Kingsholm on Monday from 7.30am. Over the course of the 2022/23 season, several other events will take place.

“Supporters wishing to host their own events to raise funds for the 4Ed campaign can continue to do so via the JustGiving page, which has been set a new milestone of £444,000. A fundraising pack will be made available over the coming weeks with more information on how to get involved.”

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