Preston North End manager Simon Grayson will honour his late best friend by cycling from London to Amsterdam in aid of Prostate Cancer UK.
Grayson’s close pal Stephen ‘Garby’ Garbett sadly died in September last year, the Leeds native losing a 10-year battle against prostate cancer. And in June he will team up with Stephen’s son Dave, a host of family friends and backroom staff from Preston on the ride which starts at Leyton Orient and concludes a day later at Amsterdam ArenA, home of Ajax Amsterdam and where Grayson’s opposite number on Monday night, Louis van Gaal, has managed for club and country.
Men United is Prostate Cancer UK’s movement for everyone who believes men are worth fighting for, and joining London to Amsterdam offers the chance for friends to do something great together and help to beat prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer UK are the official long term charity partner of The Football League and the second London to Amsterdam Cycle Challenge last June was hailed as a huge success with a squad of more than 150 riders helping raise over £200,000.
This time round the North End contingent will be joined at the start line by former international trio Terry Butcher, Matt Holland and Luther Blissett with Football League clubs from up and down the country represented on the ride.
Grayson, who regularly sports the iconic Prostate Cancer UK ‘Man of Men’ pin badge on the sidelines on match days, said: “I am delighted to support the charity which is very close to my heart. Steve was a really close friend, who followed my career closely 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 and I wanted to do something that gave something back and raised awareness for Prostate Cancer UK’s efforts. I felt that this was a great way to hopefully raise money, by going through the pain barrier with this bike ride.
I am hoping to be joined by a good number of my backroom staff at Preston North End, a number of whom also knew Steve and were as keen as I was to get involved.”
Dave Garbett added: “Simon has been a great friend to dad over the years, and is continuing to do so by looking out for my mum - calling round for a coffee or taking her out for a bite to eat.
“I take my mum over to games as much as we can - she's our FA Cup lucky charm. We were there against Norwich City and Sheffield United and will hopefully make Monday's FA Cup game with Man United as well.
“Prostate Cancer UK is a charity dad was passionate about and he would urge men to join Men United and do something great with their friends. It’s going to be brilliant to take part in this ride with Simon and other close friends in memory of my dad. If the awareness raised from talking about his experience saves someone from going through what he went through, then he would be happy.”
Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, Mark Bishop said: “This is our third annual London to Amsterdam challenge and it’s shaping up to be our best yet with our friends representing Football League clubs once again getting behind us.
“It’s a really enjoyable event, and it really resonates when we have people on the ride that have been directly affected by this deadly disease.
“To have Dave and Simon riding in honour of ‘Garby’ sends out an incredibly powerful message and will help raise awareness and funds to help save men’s lives.
“Everyone on the start line at Leyton Orient will represent Men United: people joining the same team to fight a common opposition – prostate cancer.”
Since it was launched 12 months ago, Men United has caught the imagination, and a new zeal for change in men’s health - with more than 200,000 people signing up to pledge support. Men from all walks of life, from footballers to lawyers and politicians to plumbers, have formed a growing army, raising funds to find the answers for the future through research and supporting men now.
To support Simon on the ride click www.justgiving.com/Simon-Grayson2015 or for more information about taking part in this year’s ride go to prostatecanceruk.org/amsterdam
People can also search for Men United, or join the ever-growing movement of men by visiting prostatecanceruk.org/menunited.
To hear from Simon Grayson on the bike ride and why he is taking part, watch the video below.