Two brothers from Bury St Edmunds have set off on a 600km bike ride around Europe in memory of their dad, a trailblazer for youth football in the town.
Thomas and Craig Barker, 27 and 24, saddled up and set off from Ram Meadow on Friday joined by Thomas’ school friends Liam Grant and Michael Wilson, both 27.
The gang first biked to Harwich and once on the continent toured cities in Belgium and Amsterdam including stops in Roosendaal, Baarle Nassau, Leuven, Utrect and Amsterdam. Once they get to Amsterdam, they will cycle all the way home.
The team are raising money in memory of Garry Barker who died last year aged 60 after being diagnosed with bile duct cancer just months before.
Garry ran Bury Town Youth FC for more than ten years and was a member of Bury Town FC’s board of directors. The Ipswich and Bury fan was described as being ‘at the forefront of everything’ at Ram Meadow and is credited with bringing together the youth and senior team at the club.
Thomas said the boys were keen to raise awareness of bile duct cancer which is often forgotten compared to more high profile cancers.
He said: “Originally this started out as just doing something positive after losing my dad but then it spiralled into this fund-raising ride.
“It seemed natural to do it for AMMF charity - the only UK charity that deals with bile duct cancer.
“There is a distinct lack of funding and interest in it because it doesn’t kill in the same numbers as other cancers. But those diagnosed with it don’t have a high survival rate.
“I’ve had some great times with family and friends in Amsterdam and lived and cycled round there for a year.
“Bury Town organised a few football tours in Belgium so we wanted to go there too.
“Another thing was my dad loved a pint of Stella Artois so they’ve very kindly allowed us a tour of the brewery.”
Thomas said he has been cycling 50 miles a day to get prepared for the ride.
“I would be lying if I didn’t have some trepidation about the ride but once we’re on the ferry I’ll be buzzing,” he said.
The foursome plan to return to Ram Meadow on Saturday, August 6. To donate please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bikingforbarker