On the 20th of May, John will be accompanied by a group of 12 friends and players from Garstang Rugby Club throughout the 940 mile (1510 km) journey.

Funds raised will go the Thumbs up for Charlie Foundation, which was set up by John and his wife, Nici, in memory of their son Charlie to help provide respite breaks for families whose child has been diagnosed with a brain tumour or families bereaved because of a childhood brain tumour. The money will also contribute towards future research, specifically around paediatric Ependymoma brain tumours.

We caught up with John, to find out more about Thumbs up for Charlie:

“As Charlie’s parents, we wanted to do something in Charlie’s memory. What really helped our family was knowing that there was support available.

“Respite breaks were invaluable for our family. We were able to have much needed breaks provided free of charge by charities. This enabled us to create special memories without further financial burden. We were able to spend quality time with Charlie and his siblings (Jack and Harry). It enabled us to have the little bit of “normality” that we craved.

“When you have a child who is going though treatment it impacts on every aspect of your life; family dynamics, constant stress and anxiety, constant hospital visits for check-ups and treatment, prolonged stays in hospital, the constant worry of a relapse, infection etc and in addition to this is the massive financial constraints.

“Charlie touched everyone’s lives, although he was taken from us far too young, his strength, determination and love of life has given us the strength and motivation to make this charity happen in his memory.

“Our community have been fundamental in supporting our family and following Charlie’s story. We know that we still have their support as we already have a number of fundraising events planned to raise money for Thumbs up for Charlie Foundation, including the up-coming bike ride.”

With just a few weeks to go, John and friends are currently training for the ride by cycling around 100 miles a week, including 35-mile night rides and lunch-break turbo-training!

We wish the group all the best of luck on their journey.

If you would like to sponsor the group, you can do so by following the link below:


Or you can find out more about Charlie’s story and track the riders here: