For those of you who I haven't been in touch with recently, I trust you're well and hope that the consequences of the current world health emergency haven't affected your lives too adversely. If I may have 5 minutes of your time...
Some of you know my story so far. A friend convinced me whilst I was 'under the influence' to take part in the 50k charity cycle ride last year, even though I hadn't cycled any sort of reasonable distance for 30 years. Long story short, I trained, I took part, I finished and the team I was part of raised well over £2000! Good job, blah, blah, blah, end of story, right?
Nope, not quite. I’ve since completed the London to Brighton, the L2B Off-road and various other, long distance cycling challenges. Next Saturday the 8th August I’m doing what some consider the daddy of them all, one of the mountain bikers’ rites of passage; The awesome South Downs Way, all the way across the South Downs National Park along the south coast of England, in a day, non-stop. 100 miles, 12,000ft of climbing, equivalent to cycling up Scafel Pike, the highest mountain in England, from sea level, over three times in a row. I know it’ll be brutal! I must be nuts!!!
One benefit of the lock-down due to COVID-19, is that it’s given me the opportunity to train and prepare for such a challenge. I’ve been cycling a lot! At least twice a week for a minimum of around 20 miles climbing at least 2000ft. Cycling the ‘Downs’ helps me cope with life’s ‘challenges’ thrown at us all; Stress, depression, bereavement, along with all the additional issues COVID-19 has brought about at the moment.
As a way to make sure I follow through with my aim, I’m down to participate in an event on Saturday 8th August called the South Down’s Century starting in Winchester and for this year only has been shortened to just 100km or 62miles. No need to explain why, I’m just glad it’s happening! My objective is to complete it come hell or high water and then carry on the last 40 odd miles to Eastbourne where hopefully some b*gger will be there waiting for me with a beer and a pizza in hand before it gets too dark!*thumb_up*
I was unable to participate in Dave’s funeral last year hence I struggle to accept that "Big D’" is gone. I hope this will help me come to terms with that, however, my struggle pales into insignificance compared to the loss his family must feel.
David’s wife Sharon shares this open message:
“It was with dread that — with a few days to go — I approached the anniversary of my late husband’s death. It was another first. Another day to get thought but with poignant memories.
"So it was a very pleasant surprise when Adrian rang out of the blue. We chatted and reminisced — then he explained about his fundraising challenge to cycle 100 miles, climbing a total of 12,000ft in height along the entire South Downs Way. IN A DAY!!! In Dave's memory.
"It warmed my heart and lifted my spirits. Adrian will be raising money for St Peter & St James Hospice where Dave spent his final weeks and received such wonderful care. As did we, his family. He called it, “The Sanctuary.”
"Dave was a true 7 enthusiast. He bought his car in 1990. It was a childhood dream after seeing a Lotus 7 in ‘The Prisoner’ series. He was never happier than when grabbing the keys to ‘Cate’ and going for an early morning blat when the roads were quiet. I would hear ‘Cate’s’ engine in the distance well before he got home. He would always arrive with a big smile on his face and the tell-tale spiky hair.
"Back in 1992, Dave drove me to our hotel on our wedding night; he wrapped me up in my wedding dress, picked me up and placed me carefully into the passenger seat. That journey was wonderful. We drove to Venice in our Seven, through France, Switzerland and down through the Dolomites and into Italy. A spectacular journey. I only made him put the roof up once in three weeks.*biglaugh*
"David spent many years as West Sussex AO and with Rob Morris from Shropshire. They started the annual roadside BBQ (Sossiges!) to watch the London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally. With many helpers, we raised thousands for “Nuke the Leuk” every year.
"Our son, Matthew, was introduced to ‘Cate’ when he was four months old. Dave sat him in the passenger seat. Matthew literally grew into the car over the years and now at the age of 26, she belongs to him and he drives her with pride, to make new memories and enjoy (of course, Dave insisted on teaching him to drive it, “Properly”)
"As a family we spent many happy years with the club at L2B, Loosely Park, Silverstone, Castle Combe, Dunsfold, Brooklands to name but a few and made many friends. I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for the good times. Many of you supported Matthew and I at David’s funeral by escorting him to his final resting place at Clayton and giving him a wonderful ‘Fly past’ — 27 cars. A sight to see indeed and hear. It helped lessen the pain of a very difficult day.
"Dave went to his resting place wearing his L7 Club jacket & his favourite driving boots, ready for High Flying.
"Miss you Big D.”
I know some of us are on reduced salaries and times are tight, but if you haven’t donated already and can spare any cash from £1 to £100, Sharon, The St Peter & St James Trust and myself would be so very grateful. Our target is £1956 which is the year of Dave's birth. Please consider if you please to give something towards my challenge, even if it's only £1. Donate and get in touch for me to share my live position on the SDW on the 8th. If you have donated, please spread the word far and wide to family, friends and fellow Se7en enthusiasts.
In an age before the internet, the club grew and flourished because of members like Dave. I know I owe it to him.