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Cycling team hits the trail in memory of Geoff Williams
9:25am Friday 21st September 2012 in News
HE is used to hitting up the ball on the rugby pitch, but Mark Beech will need to find a different kind of leg drive when he joins a 215-mile bike ride in memory of an ex-teammate.
The Thatto Heath second row is one of six men taking on the Trans Pennine trail from Hull to Southport over three days, starting today (Friday, September 21).
They are cycling in memory of former rugby league player Geoff Williams, who died suddenly at the age of 41 in May from encephalitis, a swelling of the brain normally caused by an infection.
Last week’s Star reported how the Heath players dedicated their recent Hattons’ Solicitors St Helens Cup trophy victory to Geoff.
Now thoughts turn to the cycle ride with more than £3,000 in sponsorship already pledged to the Encephalitis Society.
Mark will be joined by Colin Turner (39), from Bold, and Keith Hayes, Karl Dean, Paul McCarthy, Colin Turner and Mark Geraghty, all from Warrington.
It is a huge challenge for the lads, with a bike ride to the pub about the furthest some had cycled before getting in to training.
Mark, 27, of Dentons Green, told the Star: “When Geoff was at Thatto Heath quite a few of the older players retired but he carried on playing and although he was quite some years older than me we became close friends.
“I went on his stag do and got to know a lot of his friends from Warrington.
“We were all shattered to learn of his death and decided we wanted to raise awareness of this cruel illness. The idea of the bike came up over a chat in the pub.
“We’re looking forward to it I think it means a lot to Geoff’s wife, Rachael.”
Geoff’s employers Carlsberg have arranged for the cyclists an overnight stay in a hotel during the journey.
To keep a check on their progress follow @teamgwcycle.