An 18-YEAR-OLD student who lost his mum to cancer is taking on a mammoth challenge to raise money for charity.
Hazel Procter, who grew up and lived at the family home - Marlfield Farm in Earby - died last November after a seven-year battle against breast cancer.
Now her son Will, a sports science student at Bath University, is preparing to take on a 700-mile bike ride, which will end at Hazel’s beloved Turf Moor.
He and his friend Chris Walter (19), a student at Sheffield University, are planning to ride from the southernmost football stadium in the Premier League, around every other ground in the league, before arriving in Burnley a week later. Depending on the exact teams that make up the league next season, the distance will be as much as 700 miles.
The ride is due to take place at the beginning of September and the pair hop to secure as much sponsorship for Cancer Research UK as possible.
Will said: “We wanted to do something that would be an impressive effort and were inspired by Eddie Izzard’s marathons, though we couldn’t have copied that.
“We’re just hoping the promotions for next season work in our favour! Even though Burnley aren’t in the Premiership, we had to end it there.
“I’m a Liverpool fan and Chris supports Manchester United, but my mum was a huge Clarets fan. Some of her proudest moments were watching Burnley against Hamburg in the 1961 European Cup, and when they were promoted to the Premier League in 2009.”
If all goes to plan, the journey will end with a half-time pitch appearance at Turf Moor to further boost funds.
After the loss of his mum, Will is determined to raise as much money as possible.
He said: “I think she would be proud of me, people keep saying she would be. She wasn’t just a parent but a friend. It was just the two of us when I was growing up so there was a really strong bond between us.
“She wanted to see me through my A-Levels and into university so she fought the cancer long enough for that. Now I want to try to make a difference.”
The friends have got off on the right foot. They have already raised nearly £1,500 and with other events planned in the build up to the ride, they look set to smash their £3,000 target.
And they have also been able to garner the support of celebrities as they took their campaign online to Twitter. They have been championed by stars of the sporting world including the “Burnley Express” James Anderson as well as being followed by Alistair Campbell.
Hazel and Will moved from Earby to Stratford upon Avon where she was a PE teacher but kept close links to the town where his uncle and family still live.
Will said: “Lots of people were very fond of her, and now they are fond of me in turn and giving us lots of support.
“We are complete novices when it comes to cycling but we have been offered help with training and spare parts. We just need to learn how to change a tyre before we set off!”
To sponsor Will and Chris, visit www.justgiving.com/roadtoburnley