St Albans footballers raised £22,000 cycling to Amsterdam

Left to right: Ben Turner, Juliet Mellor, Richard Russell, David Clarke, Lawrence Levy, Brian Robson

Left to right: Ben Turner, Juliet Mellor, Richard Russell, David Clarke, Lawrence Levy, Brian Robson, Steve Bolton, Alan Smith, David Salter, Mike Eames, Phill Coates, Richard Derrick, Alastair Woodgate, Tim Gray, Andrew Keenleyside - Credit: Archant

Footballers became charity cyclists to raise such a phenomenally large amount of money they bagged a place in a league table of top fundraisers.

A team of 15 riders from St Albans City Football Club (SAFC) rode the 145-mile journey to Holland, along with 400 other riders from clubs across the UK, in the huge sponsorship event Football to Amsterdam.

They raised £22,000 for Prostate Cancer UK, and over two years have clocked up more than £40,000 - SAFC joined the event in 2015 after their community manager, Phill Coates, was diagnosed with the illness and supported by the charity.

Owner of SAFC, Lawrence Levy, was the fourth highest fundraiser across London and Yorkshire, collecting £5,440 on his own, and has been awarded a highly coveted orange jersey.

Lawrence was thankful for everyone’s support: “I’m very proud that not only is football leading the way to raise awareness of the disease but that SAFC was one of the top five football clubs in the country.”

Celebrities also joined the SAFC team, including ex-Arsenal, Leicester and England striker Alan Smith, and former England and Great Britain blind football team captain and St Albans Chamber of Commerce president, David Clarke - who rode on a tandem with Andy Keenleyside.

Alan, who lives locally, said: “I jumped at the opportunity to join the St Albans team when I was asked and all the hard work going out on training rides really paid off.

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“The atmosphere and teamwork on the ride was fantastic and would like to thank the generosity of all our sponsors for their support.” The route took the team from Stratford’s Olympic Velodrome to Harwich, then after a short ferry trip, from Hook of Holland to the Amsterdam Arena.

Director of fund raising at Prostate Cancer UK, James Beeby, said: “We’re staggered at the unbelievable amount SAFC has been able to raise.

“We are proud to be Official Charity Partner of the English Football League and clubs from across the football family have consistently shown a brilliant demonstration of what we call Men United: people joining one team to fight a common opposition – prostate cancer.”

Other team members were Juliet Mellor, David Salter, Alistair Woodgate, Richard Derrick, Richard Russell, Mike Eames, Steve Bolton, Tim Gray, Brian Robson, and Ben Turner.