For a second successive season a group of football fans, led by Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust board member Kevin Fitzgerald, cycled round London’s football elite to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer UK.
Setting off from West Ham United’s London Stadium in Stratford at the crack of dawn on Friday 1 September, the peloton visited 11 capital-based clubs in the Premier League and EFL before looping round to finish at National League high-fliers Leyton Orient to promote Prostate Cancer UK’s Football to Amsterdam 2018 – the charity’s end of season football fundraiser with the EFL.
This year’s ride takes place between 1-3 June, 2018, and to whet the appetite, Fitzgerald and a ten-strong group popped in on a dozen clubs to spread the word across the capital, putting football rivalries aside on a warm day.
One of the first stops was The Valley, home of Charlton Athletic, where the Addicks’ record outfield appearance maker Keith Peacock met the group pitchside at The Valley together with Player Liaison Officer Tracey Leaburn, who completed the ride to Amsterdam earlier this year. Visits to Millwall, Crystal Palace and AFC Wimbledon completed the South London quartet.
The riders, six representing Spurs, two from Chelsea and one apiece from Newcastle United and Norwich City, posed with the Premier League trophy during a whistle-stop visit to Stamford Bridge, residence of Premier League champions Chelsea. The Blues beat Tottenham Hotspur to the title last year and, heading north, White Hart Lane also provided a popular stopping point. The club have moved to Wembley this year while their home undergoes a radical renovation, but the riders popped into Lilywhite House in the north end of the new stadium to assess the work to date, posing next to the iconic Tottenham Hotspur Cockerel and Clock, a club landmark for 70 years.
They also headed to Spurs’ arch rivals Arsenal as well as Queens Park Rangers, Brentford and Fulham with White Hart Lane the penultimate stop before an east to east loop was completed at Leyton Orient FC.
The capital ride was the first in a series of events to promote Football to Amsterdam, a hugely popular cycle challenge, which has raised more than £1.7million since 2013. The ride has grown year on year with 2018 set to be the biggest yet. Registration is live and more information can be found at prostatecanceruk.org/amsterdam.
Andy Sallnow, Head of Sport Events at Prostate Cancer UK, was on the ride, and said: “It was an impressive feat to circumnavigate the capital for around 80 miles and we’d like to say a special thanks to Kevin for uniting the clubs, and everyone who supported Prostate Cancer UK for a second successive year.
“One man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer; that’s 12 in the course of the ride, which really hammers home how serious the issue is. By pedalling all of those miles and visiting all of those football clubs, the riders have joined the fight against prostate cancer and raised awareness of the disease.
“Since kicking off with around 30 riders back in 2013 to fielding a whopping 400 last year, Football to Amsterdam really is the biggest ride in football. In 2018 we hope to smash through the £2million barrier, and that money will fund radical improvements in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and support. We would welcome fans from across the capital, and beyond, to help us do that by joining the biggest ride in football from 1-3 June.
Former England stars Les Ferdinand, Viv Anderson and Alan Smith joined new Sunderland boss Simon Grayson on last year’s ride, which raised £600,000. And in the last two years Tottenham supporters have contributed close to £50,000.
The substantial sums raised will help ‘shift the science’ and crack the three core issues of diagnosis, treatment and prevention, which have been left unsolved for too long. It will also help provide support and information to those affected by the disease.
Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It’s a huge issue that cannot be ignored. One man every 45 minutes will die from prostate cancer in the UK. That’s over 11,000 men a year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026.