Epic cycle ride to support cause in young man's memory

A young man cycled almost 1,000 miles in ten days to raise money in memory of a friend who lost his battle with cancer last year.

Friday, 3rd August 2018, 11:33 am
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:12 pm
Sam Fuller SUS-180208-093012001

Sam Fuller, 27, a former ARK William Parker pupil, peddled from Land’s End to John O’Groats raising around £1,500 for Tristan’s Pawprints – a fund set up in memory of Tristan Hoedemaker, who lost his battle with Sarcoma less than a month after being diagnosed, in December 2017.

Sam’s wife Sophie, who went to school with Tristan’s wife Rebecca, said: “Sam is massively into exercise – he does the Hastings Half Marathon – and had wanted to do a huge cycle ride like this for quite some time but didn’t know which charity to do it for.

“When this happened, it felt quite close to home – we’re the same age as Tristan and Rebecca – and so he chose to raise money for Tristan’s Pawprints.

Sam Fuller made it to John O'Groats on Tuesday, July 24. SUS-180308-102802001

“He set off on Friday, July 13 and finished last Tuesday. He took two days off in the middle, so the cycle took him ten days in total.

“Where he covered such a large area, the weather varied quite a bit. It started off hot but when he got to around Carlisle, it was pretty nasty.”

Sam started his ride on July 13 and by the time he finished, he had cycled 963.9 miles, climbing 49,938ft in the process. He spent 56 hours, seven minutes and 31 seconds on the move at an average speed of 17.2mph.

Sophie, who lives in Sedlescombe, added: “I think it hasn’t quite sunk in, the enormity of what he’s achieved. At times it is more of a mental battle than a physical one, just to keep yourself going. But I know what he’s done is incredibly fulfilling. He had hoped to raise £1,000 – we thought that would be a great amount – but so far he’s raised around £1,500 which exceeded all our expectations.”

Sam Fuller SUS-180308-102812001

Sam’s mother Judi Fuller added: “Words cannot express how proud I am of Sam. He doesn’t cease to amaze me.”

Tristan, from Eastbourne, was diagnosed with Sarcoma on November 17, 2017. His last wish was to marry Rebecca, which he did on December 8. He tragically passed away three days later. Rebecca is now in the process of registering Tristan’s Pawprints as an official charity to fulfil her husband’s dream of opening a dog rescue centre.

She said: “Tristan was the most selfless person you could meet. He was so generous and so passionate.

“He worked as a veterinary nurse and absolutely adored animals. He had six dogs, he sponsored and fostered a lot of dogs, and it was always his dream to open a dog rescue centre.

“I promised him I would fulfil his dream.”

Rebecca says almost £9,000 has been raised for Tristan’s Pawprints so far, but a lot more is needed.

“What Sam’s done is amazing. It’s the biggest sum of money we’ve had raised by a single person. It’s really lovely and we’re so thankful.

“We’re in the process of registering as an official charity but it will take a little while. We’ve raised about £9,000 so far but we think we’re going to need about £50,000 to get it up and running.

“It will either be a dog sanctuary or a dog trust that raises funds for other dog charities. We have to be realistic about what we can manage.

“We’ve got a few fundraisers coming up, and I’ll be running the Beachy Head Marathon in October. Tristan and I had planned to do it together, but a lot of my friends will be doing it with me too.”

To support Sam’s efforts, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/samfullerlejog.

Visit www.facebook.com/tristanspawprints/ for more details on Tristan’s Pawprints, including upcoming fundraisers and ways to donate.