Pedal power is at the forefront of a fundraising campaign in memory of popular local sportsman Mark Davis.
Dad of two Mark from Exeter was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2018 and died 18 months later at the age of 52.
His family and close friends are raising money for FORCE Cancer Charity as a thank you for the support he received during his illness.
Partner Louise Carpenter will get the wheels in motion by taking on an all-day static bike ride at Tesco Honiton on Saturday February 12.
Using a spinning bike loaned for the day by Honiton Leisure Centre, Louise plans to start at 9:30am and keep going until 5pm.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge but I’m looking forward to it. I’m worried about my bum more than anything else!” she joked.
Louise and Mark (pictured above) were together for eight years after meeting at a staff Christmas party when they both worked for Brend Hotels.
The couple used the free services available at FORCE to anyone locally affected by cancer, including complementary therapies and financial advice and help with filling in forms from Mike Watson, the Citizens Advice benefits consultant based at FORCE.
“FORCE were amazing, just so brilliant,” said Louise. “The FORCE Centre provides a relaxing and stress free environment that really does make the world of difference when facing such stressful and uncertain times.
“It is an absolute honour to be able to fundraise for such a worthy charity and to be able to give something back that will benefit other patients and their families in the future.”
Mark was very outgoing, the life and soul of the party who knew so many people through his love of golf and football.
He grew up in North Devon and was a keen member of the Ilfracombe and District Youth Band Blazing Sounds, playing euphonium and drums.
He played football for Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and, after moving to Exeter, Kentisbeare, Topsham Town and Broadclyst. He swapped playing for refereeing in his mid-forties and won an award for up and coming referee.
A group of his sporting friends are in training to play their part in the fundraising campaign for FORCE.
Paul Reed, Terry Wheatley, Steve Sandiford, Lee Cornish and Pete Jeffery with Simon Courtney as vehicle support driver will be leaving Exeter on Tuesday April 26 to cycle nearly 300 miles to Ipswich.
Mark was a huge Ipswich Town fan and the Tractor Boys play Charlton Athletic in their final League One match of the season at Portman Road on Saturday April 30.
“We will all be there to cheer the boys in on their bikes and then honour Mark’s memory by attending the game,” said Louise.
The fundraising group set themselves an initial target of £2,000 but have already smashed that.
The Exeter-Ipswich ride has attracted sponsorship for three of the four main legs.
Stage 1: Sponsored by BREND HOTELS, Exeter- Trowbridge (80 miles)
Stage 2: Sponsored by THE PASSAGE HOUSE INN Topsham, Trowbridge- Aylesbury (90 miles)
Stage 3: Sponsored by HEAVITREE BREWERY, Aylesbury-Sudbury, (84 miles)
Stage 4: Sudbury-Ipswich (22 miles)
Other events planned include a race night and a bingo session, which they hope will help take their fundraising total over £6,000.
“During Mark’s 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer FORCE were a constant support. If possible, we would love to smash our target and help other families have the support of this undeniably brilliant charity,” said Louise.
You can support the campaign at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Simon-Courtney1