Mike Thompson, former member of staff and honorary OV takes on a mammoth bike ride in memory of friend and former Warminster colleague Dave Syrett who lost his battle to cancer.

“If telling my story can help someone else who’s going through the same thing, then that’s fine.” 

David Syrett

Mike Thompson explains:

“My Big Ride For Dave will begin on October 17 2016. I'm riding from Land's End to John o'Groats as fast as I can and hopefully I will raise a lot of money for a very worthy cause, The Brain Tumour Charity, supported by the Lewis Moody Foundation.  It's a big challenge and will involve some suffering but nothing compared to the adversity faced by David and his family in recent years. 

David will be remembered by many as the former professional footballer who made 321 league appearances, scoring 89 goals for Swindon Town, Mansfield Town, Walsall, Peterborough United and Northampton Town. However, I came to know David after his playing career was prematurely and cruelly ended by a spinal injury at the age of 28. 

David joined the sports coaching staff at Warminster School where he inspired and nurtured many youngsters, helping them improve no matter what their ability. Every time David scored one of his 100 league and cup goals, he celebrated each goal like a schoolboy, as if it was the first goal he had ever scored. He took the same delight in the achievements of his young charges at Warminster and then later at Chafyn Grove School, in Salisbury, where he was working when he was diagnosed first with prostate cancer and then, three years later, a brain tumour.

My memories of David are of a remarkable and very special man, a loving husband to Yvonne, a devoted father to Michelle, Kerry, Hayley and Vicki and an adoring grandfather to Faith, Austin and Ralph. As a footballer, David always gave 110%, which is why the fans loved him wherever he played. More importantly, David gave 110% to everything he did in life and, in particular, the courage, dignity and humility with which he faced his illness. Not once did David complain. His thoughts were never for himself but always for the cancer patients he met on his many hospital visits and those who were treating and caring for him.

David backed my ride before he passed away and now it's time to give our support to a Foundation that is committed to helping fund research into the causes of brain tumours in children and adults, supporting early diagnosis and providing relief for families. 

Please donate whatever you can and follow my progress on Twitter, Facebook and our JustGiving website.”

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

Everyone from Warminster School wishes Mike well on his mammoth task. Good luck Mike!