PCUK launched the annual Football to Amsterdam ride in June 2013 with just 25 participant cyclists raising a total of £30,000. In the seven years since, the event has swelled to around 400 football fans crossing the finishing line at Ajax’s Johan Cruyff Arena, raising £500,000 a year and achieving a seven-year grand total of £2 million to fund research aimed at combatting the disease.
Reflecting the role that football, and especially ex-footballers, play in campaigning for PCUK, an impressive eleven could be selected from those who have completed the ride including Viv Anderson, Terry Butcher, Paul Parker, Les Ferdinand and Luther Blissett.
Having signed up in November for the 2016 ride, I discovered that two other Spurs fans had done likewise. The Trust then started promoting the ride, making PCUK its official charity. Before long we had a team name, Cycle On You Spurs, and a team that grew to fifteen riders for the 2016 edition. May 2016 saw the Trust host a charity end-of-season BBQ in support of the ride with a very special guest, Ledley King.
That event has become a regular slot in the calendars of the Trust and The Antwerp Arms; the pub that both Spurs and the Trust supported in its successful campaign to become community-owned. Successive BBQs have welcomed Gary Mabbutt, Micky Hazard, Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa and Spurs Womens’ Ashleigh Neville as guests. In total these events, plus annual donations from Trust funds, have resulted in over £7,000 being contributed to Cycle On You Spurs fundraising.
Tottenham Hotspur FC has always been very supportive. In addition to lending us Ledley, Gary, Ossie and Ricky for our end-of-season events, for the 2016 and 2017 rides each member of our team was supplied with a home team shirt with COYS and rider number printed on the back. For the next two years we were given permission to use the official Spurs logo on limited special edition cycling tops, helping us raise a further £7,000 for PCUK. And the Club has donated signed squad shirts, pennants and footballs.
Cycle On You Spurs input to Football to Amsterdam: The data
YEAR RIDERS FUNDRAISING
2016 15 £21,655
2017 23 £26,718
2018 17 £27,207
2019 21 £36,260
2020/21 27 £22,269 (to date, including cancelled 2020 ride)
So, that’s a grand total to date of £134,109.
Spanning these years, and the finishing line, we can count over 100 pairs of cycling wheels and 60 to 70 team members, with a large number riding more than once. By next June Amy Warwick, Matt Pocock and I will have completed a total of five rides each, followed by our Gary Parker – who has done so much to secure our sponsored team shirts - on four and Bruce Lee, John O’Brien, John Neary, John McCabe and Laura Farnell on three.
The camaraderie, satisfaction and wellbeing that go with the event are to be cherished but above all there is the cause. Prostate cancer affects so many men and their loved ones, and this is reflected in the personal histories of many of the Cycle On You Spurs team. In the coming months some of their stories will feature here. For now check out John O’Brien’s story.
THST Board Member