A group of big-hearted cyclists have got on their bikes for an epic charity ride in memory of two friends who died tragically young.
Dr Amin Goodarzi, aged 34, trainee surgeon Amir Forouzanfar, aged 33, pharmacist Gerard Ulyatt, aged 56, and sales executive Bahman Sarani, aged 29, are hoping pedal power will propel them from Land’s End to John O’Groats - a distance of more than 800 miles.
The four friends, all from Sheffield, are hoping to raise thousands of pounds for charity in memory of Steve Burns who died of motor neurone disease in July aged just 34, and skin cancer victim Simon Jones, who died aged 40 ten years ago.
Crosspool resident Dr Goodarzi, who works at Dykes Hall Medical Centre in Hillsborough, said: “I was devastated by the loss of Steve, I saw how he deteriorated over the last four years and it was heartbreaking. But he always had a smile on his face despite what he was going through.
“And I know the loss of Simon really affected Gerard.
“So we got out heads together and while on a cycle ride one day decided we should do something for charity. Then we looked into the length of the country challenge and decided to go for it.”
The group, calling themselves the ‘Lardy Lads’, set off from Land’s End in Cornwall on Tuesday, August 30, and they hope to finish at the top of Scotland at John O’Groats on Saturday, September 10.
During the epic ride they have had to deal with a wheel break, two punctures and - of course - tired legs.
Said Dr Goodarzi: “It has been difficult but also enjoyable. We have the charity logos on our legs so whenever we look down and are feeling tired we can remind ourselves that this is for two fantastic charities. Steve and Simon are also a constant source of inspiration for us.
“We have also seen people out with banners supporting us. Every time we get a donation it gives us a huge boost so please support our charity cause.”
Married father-of-two Steve grew up in Rotherham, was a member of Rotherham CAMRA and enjoyed a successful football career in the Rotherham and District Sunday League.
Gerard said of his friend Simon: “At 40 years he had much more to offer his family and friends. Skin cancer inflicts a devastating effect on families and friends as well as individuals.”
The group is supporting Motor Neurone Disease Association and Skcin - The Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity.
So far they have raised more than £4, 500 of a target of £20, 000. For details of how to donate and how to follow their progress visit http://lardylads.org/