Cycle ride tribute to pal helps charity

BOYS IN BLUE: Sean Slater, John Wilson, Paul Gregory and John Beavers on the fund-raising trail.

BOYS IN BLUE: Sean Slater, John Wilson, Paul Gregory and John Beavers on the fund-raising trail.

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A GROUP of Fleetwood pals cycled 65 miles to support armed services charity Help For Heroes and a junior football club.

And the trek around the Fylde coast was inspired by their old friend, Marine Darren Smith, who was killed on duty in Afghanistan in February 2009.

Marine Darren Smith from 45 Commando was shot dead during a Taliban ambush in Helmand.

Marine Darren Smith from 45 Commando was shot dead during a Taliban ambush in Helmand.

The cycle ride with a difference took in all the junior football grounds they played at with “Daz” when they were youngsters at Fleetwood Gym FC.

John Beavers, 29, Sean Slater, 29, Paul Gregory, 30, and John Wilson, 31, peddled from Fleetwood to Hambleton, then on to Kirkham, Warton, Lytham, St Annes, Blackpool, Bispham, Poulton, Thornton and finally Fleetwood – the grounds of around 20 junior football clubs!

As well as raising cash towards Help For Heroes, they are also supporting Fleetwood Gym Under 10’s touring side.

John told the Weekly News: “Both of these causes would have been very important to our late friend Daz Smith.

“I grew up and played football with Daz at Fleetwood Gym from Under Sevens right through to Under 14s, and the club meant a lot to him.

“The ride was tougher than it might sound, but we managed it and we will have raised around £2,000, once all the money has come in.”

The ride, with pal Martin Van Bogerijan following in a van, began at Fleetwood Memorial Park, where they played their very first Gym game as Under Sevens.

It then took in Fleetwood Town FC, Poulton Town FC. Wyre juniors FC in Over Wyre, Kirkham FC, Warton FC, Lytham FC, YMCA FC, Our Lady FC in St Annes, Spirit of Youth FC, AFC Mechanics, Squires Gate FC. Foxhall FC, South Shore FC, Bloomfield Road (venue of a Sunday Alliance Gledhill Cup triumph) Clifton Rangers FC, Layton FC, FC Rangers, Poulton Youth FC, Blackpool Rangers FC, BJFF, Thornton Cleveleys FC and finally the King George’s pitch at Fleetwood.