As many supporters will know, former Stags’ star Dave Syrett sadly passed away following a battle with a brain tumour earlier this year, but he is still remembered fondly by those who knew him.
None more so than his good friend Michael Thompson, who has recently completed an incredible charity bike ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in his memory.
The duo met after the former Stags’ striker left the professional game and went to work as a football coach and head groundsman at Warminster School in Wiltshire.
Michael was the first team coach at Warminster and also the Head of English and he admired how Dave inspired and nurtured youngsters, encouraging them to enjoy their sport, just as he had done as a boy, no matter what their ability.
Before Dave passed away, he and Michael spoke about ways to make life easier for people suffering from brain tumours, which is how ‘My Big Ride For Dave’ was founded.
The bike ride has been completed in aid of The Brain Tumour Charity, which is supported by the Lewis Moody Foundation and is one of the least supported charities in the UK.
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 each year than any other cancer, and five-year survival is less than 20 percent.
Michael has been training for the charity bike ride for months and recently completed the incredible journey from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats, the northernmost point of Scotland, in a total of six days.
Speaking prior to completing the challenge, Michael said it would be nothing compared to what his good friend Dave Syrett went through in the final stages of his life.
“The ride will be a huge challenge for me but nothing in comparison to the challenges Dave faced in the last three years of his life,” Michael said.
“As the Stags’ front man, Dave was brave and courageous and that spirit sustained him through his illnesses. However, he also played with a smile on his face and he had a great sense of humour and that was exactly the way he was the last afternoon I spent with him.
“I think Dave’s advice to me on my ride would be ‘think tough but enjoy the adventure’.”
Dave's widow, Yvonne, and his four daughters Michelle, Kerry, Hayley and Vicki have been moved by the thoughtfulness of everyone since Dave’s untimely death and have been truly touched by the amount of donations made to Michael’s fundraising campaign.
So far, Michael has raised over £6,000, 25 percent more than his target of £5,000 before he began his challenge.
Stags’ fans can donate to Michael’s fundraising endeavours by visiting his JustGiving
“If telling my story can help someone else who’s going through the same thing, then that’s fine.”
-Dave Syrett 1956-2016