Charity cycles, including one for Tom Smith, raise nearly 200k
Two separate week-long UK charity cycles – one in honour of the late Lions prop Tom Smith, the other headed by another Lions forward Nathan Hines – have raised approximately £200,000 in recent weeks. It was April 6 when Smith passed away at the age of 50 with cancer and having seen his own father Iain Peterson pass away with a similar illness, 55-year-old Scottish rugby referee Andrew Peterson has just cycled the length and breadth of the UK.
Starting at Lizard Point, Britain’s most southern point, on July 16, the amateur cycled 2,217kms via Lowestoft Ness, the most eastern point, Dunnet Head, the most northern point, finishing at Ardnamurchan Point, the most western point, after spending over 16 hours a day in the saddle.
Riding for the charity 40tude, Peterson raised more than £140,000 to fund a new clinical research fellowship at St Mark’s Hospital in Harrow which is named after Smith, the ex-Lions and Scotland front-rower. The research post will investigate the genetics of hereditary bowel cancer.
Peterson, who was met along the way by current Scotland boss Gregor Townsend, said: “Tom was a Lions legend and an ambassador for 40tude, the bowel cancer charity. He was hugely supportive of this ride and wanted to use his position to make a difference in curing bowel cancer.
“He encouraged me to do the ride whatever happened to him. After sadly dying in April, we decided to honour Tom by naming the research fellowship in Tom’s name – The Tom Smith Fellowship.
“The main thing with bowel cancer is being aware of the symptoms. It’s treatable if you detect it early. What my father and Tom didn’t do was act when they had the symptoms. By the time they did, it was too late. I want everyone to know the symptoms and get checked out.”
Peterson’s sterling effort was preceded by the Gallagher Road to Twickenham cycle which reached its destination on June 18 with a core contingent of rugby legends delivering the Gallagher Premiership Trophy to Twickenham Stadium for the 2022 Premiership final that was won by Leicester Tigers.
A circuitous cycle route took in eleven of the 13 Premiership clubs’ home grounds and over £50,000 was raised for the children’s charity of rugby, Wooden Spoon, and local Gallagher Premiership Rugby foundations. Ex-Scotland forward Hines, who works for Gallagher, was joined by the likes of ex-England captain Martin Johnson and ex-England back-rower Jack Clifford on the cycle.
“After so many months of planning, it was amazing to finally clip in at Kingston Park just after dawn and get underway on the Ride to Twickenham,” said Hines. “The seven days that followed were long and tough but culminated in an emotional and incredibly rewarding journey.
“I’m so proud of the guys who took part, as well as all our colleagues and clients that joined us along the way, and I can’t thank everyone enough for their donations. I miss the competitive aspect of being on the rugby field so it was great to push myself physically again.”
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