CYCLISTS are being invited to take part in a charity ride through the Cotswolds in memory of a Yate man who raised thousands of pounds for brain tumour research.
Places are now open for the Meeks Feats 100, which takes place next month, inspired by and to remember Ian Meek.
Ian was 42 when he died two years ago, having been diagnosed with a benign brain tumour in 1994 after suffering a fit on the way home from a football match. Despite five major operations, the tumour turned malignant nearly three years ago.
Originally from Yate, the father-of-three had moved to Yorkshire some years earlier where he raised more than £110,000 for Brain Tumour Research and Support across Yorkshire (BTRS) and under the name Meeks’ Feats, he funded a research student at the University of the Leeds for three years.
Despite suffering problems with his hearing and sight, the former Rodford Primary School and King Edmund Community School (now Yate International Academy) student completed the 3 Peaks challenge in 2010 as well as a 200-mile bike ride from Bristol to Yorkshire.
He died on August 1, 2012 leaving behind his wife Sally, 41, and three children Keisha, 22, Hannah, 20 and Samuel, 17.
In a fitting tribute, the Meeks Feats 100 challenge on Sunday, September 28 will see cyclists chose from either a 100km memorial route or a 100-mile intense ride.
Both routes will start and finish at Yate Outdoor Centre in Yate, Bristol, and then head to Minchinhampton, taking in Frocester and Ozleworth hills along the way, returning via Tetbury and Chipping Sodbury.
Ian’s parents Pauline and Brian, of Pitchcomb in Yate, who proudly watched their son carry the Olympic torch through York just months before he died, said learning that his tumour had turned malignant 15 years after diagnosis had been ‘utterly devastating’.
Pauline, 69, added: “Undeterred, Ian decided that the disease may take his life, but it would never take his spirit. After his terminal diagnosis, he went onto raise over £110,000 for research while also selflessly supporting other patients and their families.
“During his illness, many people came to know Ian and were inspired by his energy and determination.”
She added: “In Ian’s memory, we want to change the appalling statistics that surround this disease – brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just one per cent of national cancer research spending goes on brain tumours.
“This is such an injustice to the thousands of families each year who learn that a loved one has a brain tumour.
“We are hoping that people who knew Ian or people who just feel moved to help put right this injustice, will take the time to join in the event or make a donation.
“It is reassuring to think that this fundraising challenge in Ian’s memory will help bring us closer to finding a cure for brain tumours – continuing Ian’s legacy and his ultimate dream.”
The rides will raise funds for St Rose’s School, Stroud and Brain Tumour Research and are being supported by celebrity GP and Stroud resident Dr Dawn Harper, from Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies, and Ian’s long-term friend Rob Berry, who works for David Wilson Homes which is sponsoring the event.
Carol Robertson, head of community fundraising at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Ian was a close friend and we are organising this event in tribute to an amazing man who accomplished so much.
“Our fundraising efforts are critical – Brain Tumour Research receives no government or lottery funding. We rely entirely on our fundraisers in order to further our mission to sustain long-term research into brain tumours.”
For more information and to register for the event go to www.meeksfeats.org.uk or to make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/rememberianmeek