Don't stop me now '“ I'm getting on my bike for Richard
That’s the motto behind a mammoth charity bike ride, to carry on the legacy of dad-of-two Ric Clark.
The 35-year-old passed away in December after he was diagnosed with incurable cancer, but his family and friends are determined to keep his memory alive.
Ric overcame stomach cancer in 2014 but was told last summer he had incurable peritoneal cancer, that had metastasised from his first tumour.
But John will now take Ric’s bike on the 300-mile journey. He said: “He might not be there in body but in spirit he is.”
John, 62, who lives in Fulwood, said: “He planned to come over and see me at the line in Paris.
“The Saturday before he passed away on the Tuesday night he said, ‘I would like you to ride my bike to Paris’.
“I said, ‘Are you sure?’ and he said, ‘Yes, take my hybrid’. He knew he didn’t have long left, and he said, ‘The bike will be there if I’m not.’ I decided I would start training and raise as much money as I can.”
John and his team of supporters have set up a Facebook group, DSMN #difr, and a Twitter profile called DSMN2016.
It stands for “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Ric’s favourite song which was played at his funeral, “doing it for Richard”.
The team are to have T-shirts printed, with money raised from them to be donated to St Catherine’s Hospice, where Ric died in December.
John will also take on a 100-mile “warm up” cycle ride in May, to raise funds for St Catherine’s, ahead of the London to Paris ride in July to raise money for Rosemere.
He said he had received “tremendous” support from Ric’s family, friends and employers.
He said: “I’m not the youngest, but I want to carry on the legacy and we are hoping that when I ride into Paris his wife Leonie, his sons, my other daughter and her children and husband will be there to greet me.
“I’m determined, he’s with me all the way and to ride his bike is special.”
John and Ric first met while he and Leonie were students together, and John said: “I liked him straight away because he was a very flamboyant character, when he walked into a room you knew he was there.
“I have two daughters and I looked on him as a son.”
He said the pair enjoyed watching football and professional cycling together, adding: “We were quite social buddies as well.
“He was a great guy and raised loads and loads of money for charities through marathon running, and he was an inspiration.
“I want to carry on and keep his name at the forefront. He was a great guy and we all miss him.”