Cycling challenge in memory of Town fan raises £42,000 before it starts

Louise Carpenter and Mark Davis

Mark Davis pictured with his partner Louise Carpenter supported Ipswich Town. - Credit: Louise Carpenter

Friends of a Devon-based Ipswich Town fan will cycle 300 miles to Portman Road in his memory, having raised £42,000 before setting off. 

Mark Davis, from Exeter, died at the age of 52 from pancreatic cancer after being diagnosed in March 2018.

Paul Reed, Terry Wheatley, Steve Sandiford, Lee Cornish and former Exeter Falcons speedway racer Pete Jeffery will complete the 300-mile journey over four days in aid of Force Cancer Charity, which supported Mr Davis during his diagnosis.

The cyclists will set off on April 26 and plan to arrive for Ipswich's match against Charlton Athletic on April 30.

Louise Carpenter, Mr Davis' partner of eight years, said: "Mark's family lived in Thetford in the early part of his life and his dad used to take him to the matches as he was a supporter of the Tractor Boys. He also played through school and then played locally and throughout his life.

"I think his love of the team was the connection with his dad and that stayed with his through his life." 

Mr Davis tried to see the team as often as he could, with the family making trips to Bournemouth, Newcastle and Swansea to watch the Blues.

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She added: "During our time together we also made it up there with his youngest boy, Ben, to see them play at Portman Road which he obviously loved."

With still more than a week to go to the challenge's start, the cyclists have raised more than £42,000, having set their goal at £2,000. 

Mr Reed said: "We’re a group of 50 somethings who got to know Mark through football, golf and socially. He was such an amazing chap, who dealt with his terminal diagnosis so well. 

“He was an exceptional person who made it easy to be around him and he’s still very much in everybody’s thoughts.”

They will not be on their own, with Simon Courtney acting as vehicle support driver during the journey.

“We’re just happy Mark wasn’t a Carlisle fan,” Mr Reed said.

On April 30, there will be a group of more than 20 of Mr Davis' friends and family attending the match.

To further add to the team's total visit their Just Giving page.