PNE boss sets new targets

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North End boss Simon Grayson aims to take his fundraising through the £100,000 mark for Prostate Cancer UK.

Next summer, Grayson will squeeze into the lycra again and cycle from Barnsley to Amsterdam.

Mark Lawrenson, Simon Grayson and Richard Askam at the Bull and Royal

Mark Lawrenson, Simon Grayson and Richard Askam at the Bull and Royal

He did the charity ride in June 2015, shortly after the Lilywhites had won the League One play-off final at Wembley.

In the last 18 months or so, Grayson and a group of friends have raised around £70,000 for Prostate Cancer UK through various events.

The next bike ride and some other events will hopefully take that figure through the £100,000 barrier.

Grayson and former North End defender Mark Lawrenson took part in a question-and-answer session with PNE supporters this week at the Bull and Royal pub.

It was compered by the BBC’s Richard Askam.

At the event, the work done by Prostate Cancer UK was outlined to the audience, with Grayson explaining that the death of a close friend from the disease inspired him to get involved in fundraising.

He and Lawrenson answered a wide range of questions from fans, Lawro in fine form as he recalled tales from his time with Liverpool during their pomp in the 1980s.

The pair watched England’s 2-2 draw with Spain, and they gave half-time and full-time analysis on the friendly game.

Looking ahead to the bike ride next summer, Grayson told the Evening Post: “I might be doing it thinking we have won at Wembley again!

“I enjoyed doing it a couple of years ago and after having a bit of a breather this summer, myself and a few friends decided to do it again. There are 25 to 30 of us from Leeds doing it and some of the North End staff are hopefully going to join us – I’m working on a few people.

“As a group, we have raised £70,000 so far. In the next few months I’m going to do a couple more Q&As, there will be another charity game at Deepdale and I’m hosting a gala ball in Leeds.

“We’d like to try and get to the £100,000 mark, which would be a good position to be in after two years.”

Grayson has done some cycling since the 2015 ride to Amsterdam but will increase his time in the saddle in the New Year.

“Last time, we rode from London to Amsterdam, this time I’m doing the northern leg which is setting off from Barnsley,” said Grayson.

“I’ll probably start training when the bad weather is out of the way, do some indoor work first and then get out on the bike a few times a week.

“There have been occasions when I’ve cycled to training from home.

“It is a sight for sore eyes for the players when they’ve seen me arrive at the training ground in my cycling lycra!”

Les Ferdinand, who is now QPR’s director of football, is cycling the southern leg from London to Amsterdam.

Ex-England internationals Terry Butcher, Viv Anderson and Tony Woodcock are also taking part.

The rides are open to the public and those signing up before November 22 get a £25 discount on registration.

Signing-up can be done at prostatecanceruk.org/amsterdam. The £25 discount can be claimed by using the code ‘PRESTON 25’.