LOSING one parent is heartbreaking. But losing both his mum and dad to cancer within a year left Andrew Brabyn devastated.
His mother Andrea Small died of ovarian cancer in 2006 and his father Harry died of lung cancer in 2007.
Five years on, the 42-year-old graphic designer will honour their memories by taking part in bike ride from London to Paris for Cancer Research UK.
The keen cyclist, of Kings Street, Emsworth, said: ‘My mother was given the all clear and she lived her life to the full for three years but it returned so badly that within eight months she died.
‘She was only 60 and very healthy. She’d go to aerobics three times a week, and go walking and hiking. My dad went for a routine X-ray on his chest and they found a shadow on his lung which turned out to be lung cancer. He was given six months to live and died in five. But he really only had a couple of months when he wasn’t in hospital.
‘My mother did a lot for charity and I always felt I should do something but I’d always shied away from it.
‘I wanted to make sure that when I did something I would do it properly. I have always cycled and this felt like the right time.’
Mr Brabyn leaves for Paris with friends Nick Butterfield, Jeremy Clements and Mark Murphy on June 24. They will cycle 120 miles a day for three days until they reach the French capital.
The team have called themselves Peregrine VC after St Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer, and VC for the French for cycle club.
Mr Brabyn said: ‘I’ve hand picked three other cyclists who have known someone who has been affected by cancer in some way.
‘Obviously they have to be good enough to be able to undertake this ride as it’s going to be really tough. It will also be quite emotional for me. My mum was always very supportive of my cycling but my dad was critical and would say I spent too much time cycling and not enough time working. But I’m sure he would be proud that I’m putting cycling to good use and helping others.’
To sponsor Andrew go to justgiving.com/St-Peregrine-VC