Preston North End manager Simon Grayson will once again join the biggest ride in football next year, as Prostate Cancer UK’s million-pound cycling event gathers pace.The Deepdale boss, who completed the 2014 ride for the leading men’s health charity, will join former England stars Les Ferdinand and Terry Butcher in the fifth annual Football to Amsterdam ride - prostatecanceruk.org/amsterdam - in conjunction with the EFL from 9th-11th June.
For a second time, the 46-year-old will ride 145 miles in honour of his late friend Steve ‘Garby’ Garbett, who passed away from the disease in September 2014. Grayson will be joining the northern leg this year which kicks off at Oakwell, the home of Barnsley FC.
On Tuesday night, the Preston North End manager was part of a special Men United Arms Q&A event in Preston, alongside BBC pundit and former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson.
Hosted by BBC North West’s Richard Askam, fans were invited to listen to ‘Larry and Lawro’ discuss PNE, the 2016/17 season so far as well as watch the England game with the pair where they got some insight from the duo on Gareth Southgate’s fourth outing as Three Lions Manager.
The event also focussed on Grayson’s epic charity challenge from Yorkshire to Amsterdam as well as his £100k fundraising target, of which he has already raised a fantastic £70k through various different activities.
Grayson said: “I am delighted to support Prostate Cancer UK, a charity which is very close to my heart, and I’m looking forward to joining the ride for a second time in honour of my late friend Steve Garbett.
“Garby’ was a really close pal, who followed my career as a player and latterly as a manager and was always there to offer me support and advice. He was there for the good and the bad before sadly passing away two years ago.
“I was honoured to ride from London to Amsterdam with Steve’s son, Dave, two years ago and we’ll be putting out another strong team as we start from Oakwell this time round, aiming to take our fundraising up beyond £100,000.”
Starting out as a charity challenge with 35 riders in 2013, the Football to Amsterdam bike ride from Prostate Cancer UK and the EFL reached an incredible £1million cumulative fundraising landmark in June, as 350 riders rode 145 miles to stop prostate cancer being a killer.
James Beeby, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Simon’s been a big supporter of ours for many years, having seen this disease affect one of his closest friends. He knows that ignoring prostate cancer will not beat it, and the money raised by everyone taking part in this ride will fund ground-breaking research to help fight the disease.
“We are proud to be Official Charity Partner of the EFL, and clubs from across the football family have consistently shown a brilliant demonstration of what we call Men United: people joining one team to fight a common opposition – prostate cancer.”
Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It’s a huge issue that cannot be ignored. In 2016, one man an hour will die from prostate cancer in the UK. That’s more than 11,000 men this year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026.
People are urged to search Men United and join the fight.
For information about taking part in the 2017 ride go to prostatecanceruk.org/amsterdam or contact the cycling team by calling 020 8222 7158 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.