Retired butcher takes on Suffolk charity cycle ride in memory of teenager
PUBLISHED: 12:14 09 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:14 09 August 2018
Seventy-year-old Mel Hopkins will cycle 100km in the Crafted Classique Sportive on Saturday for the Teenage Cancer Trust as a tribute to 18-year-old Jack Cook, who died from leukaemia three-and-a-half years ago.
The former Stradbroke Senior School pupil was diagnosed when he was just 13 after becoming ill on a family holiday in America.
Mr Hopkins, from Gislingham, near Eye, is aiming to raise hundreds of pounds for the charity from the ride, which sets off from Ipswich to Wickham Market and back via country roads, taking in places including Woodbridge, Newbourne, Martlesham, Melton and Grundisburgh.
He said: ‘‘I didn’t know Jack but I know his dad Kevin and family, and my brother-in-law is Peter George, owner of Malthouse Security.
‘‘I enjoy cycling and the good thing is that at my age it is something that I can do that does not damage the joints.
‘‘I am not worried about my time for the 100km. I just want to make sure I finish and raise money in Jack’s memory, and I have raised about £500 already.’’
Novice runner Mr Cook, 47, ran this year’s London Marathon in aid of the trust and his employer, Malthouse Security, based near Diss, has chosen the TCT as its charity of the year. His fundraising target was £3,000 from the race but he raised more than £6,600.
About seven young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK.
Peter George, owner of Malthouse Security, said: “The loss of Jack was a tragedy that was felt by all of us here and we have all been fundraising for the trust with quiz nights and other events, and are delighted with the support shown for the charity.
“Mel is a great example of how people of all ages in the community are prepared to get out there and do their bit to raise money to help children who are struck by cancer.
“We wish Mel all the best for his long-distance bike ride and would encourage people to support him and raise funds themselves for this brilliant charity.’’
To support Mel go to his fundraising page