When four Bury St Edmunds men started planning a cycle ride to mark the centenary of World War One last summer, they never thought only three of them would complete it.
Mark Durham, his brothers in law Ian and Nigel Dulieu, and best friend Paul Thomas conceived the ride – across France and Belgium from Dunkirk to Genval – this time last year, planning to take in the historic town of Ypres, Kortrijk and Waterloo on the way to visit friends in South Belgium.
But when Mark, 45, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at Christmas, it became clear he could not take part in the challenge.
He told the team to continue without him, but to keep him posted on their progress. Then three weeks ahead of the ride, Mark, an electronics engineer at West Suffolk Hospital, died.
Angie, Mark’s wife, said: “The four of them discussed the ride and doing it together, but when Mark died they decided they were going to do it in his memory.”
The cycle, from July 3-5, raised £5,118 for St Nicholas Hospice Care, which helped support Mark and his wife at home throughout his illness.
Ian said: “When Mark fell ill we thought we would do the ride for the hospice, for the way it looked after Angie and Mark so well.
“The ride itself was a lot of fun and we enjoyed it. It was very sentimental and touching at the end. We had balloons with Mark and Angie’s names on, which we let go over the lake.
“The reason we managed to raise so much is all down to who Mark was as a person.”
Jenny Baskett, hospice events and challenge fund-raiser, said: “Thank you to Angie, Ian, Nigel and Paul for bravely continuing with the ride, and to everyone who supported them. To have raised £5,118 is staggering and shows how highly regarded Mark was.
“The funds raised will help the hospice to support other people like Mark and Angie.”