St Albans footballers cycle for prostate cancer

Co-owner of the club, Lawrence Levy (left) with supporters Phill Coates (middle) and Brian Robson (r

Co-owner of the club, Lawrence Levy (left) with supporters Phill Coates (middle) and Brian Robson (right) - Credit: Archant

Celebrity sportsmen will ride alongside St Albans City FC (SACFC) charity cyclists on a two day trek to Holland next month.

Former Arsenal and England footballer, Alan Smith, and England Blind Football captain, David Clarke, are joining 13 SACFC supporters and players on the 145mile journey from the Olympic Velodrome in London to the Ajax Arena in Amsterdam.

It is in aid of Prostate Cancer UK, the official charity of the English Football League, but holds special value for the club since SACFC community manager and Marshalswick local, Phill Coates, was diagnosed with the illness in 2014.

Prostate Cancer UK helped him through the whole journey from diagnosis to surgery and recovery.

Phill said: “The diagnosis was just in time really, if it hadn’t have been caught then I could have had a lot more problems and the charity were really good, I talked to them in terms of which way to go and whether to have radio therapy or surgery.

“And having had surgery they were really good, they phoned me up to see how I was getting on.”

He is only “sort-of” nervous for the long ride, because he has done the route before, but described the riders as “amazing”.

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Phill encouraged all men, but especially those over 50, to check themselves regularly.

The team, called the The Mighty Saints, have done the ride every year since his recovery and have increased rapidly in numbers, up from only four in 2015 to 15 this year.

They have secured sponsorship from about 21 different local businesses and will hopefully raise more than £15,000 for the charity, on top of £12,000 from previous years and fundraisers.

Other riders in the SACFC team are Alan Smith, Lawrence Levy, David Clarke, Andy Keenleyside, Juliet Mellor, David Salter, Alistair Woodgate, Richard Derrick, Richard Russell, Mike Eames, Steve Bolton, Tim Gray, Brian Robson, and Ben Turner.

They are joining 400 other cyclists in teams from across the country for the ride, including well-known names such as Terry Butcher, Les Ferdinand, and Simon Grayson.

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