A GROUP of friends are competing in cycling and running challenges to raise money in memory of their buddy.
Their efforts will be fundraising for charity Aspire which supports people who have been paralysed by spinal cord injuries.
It comes after Mike Orridge, a teacher from Fareham, died last year after an accident while swimming left him paralysed.
Mike’s friends have rallied together for the first anniversary of his death and six will be taking on the Paris Marathon this Sunday.
Meanwhile, another 11 friends will be cycling from the London Eye to the Eiffel Tower in time to support the runners as they finish the 26.2-mile course.
Together, the group will be running and cycling nearly 2,000 miles in Mike’s memory.
Paris seemed a fitting venue as Mike spent a year there during his degree and always said it was one of the best years of his lifeBen Cassels
Ben Cassels, one of Mike’s friends, said: ‘We decided undeterred to continue with our plan to run the Paris Marathon.
‘Paris seemed a fitting venue as Mike spent a year there during his degree and always said it was one of the best years of his life.’
Mike, known as Porridge to his friends, had been on holiday in Spain when he dived into shallow water, breaking his neck.
As previously reported in The News, the 28-year-old had travelled to Playa del Rompeculos to improve his Spanish. An inquest into his death, held last October, heard doctors operated on him to straighten his neck, although they could not fix the paralysis.
But during one of the procedures carried out at a hospital in Seville, complications caused his heart to stop. When doctors gave him drugs to kickstart his heart, it caused a haemorrhage in his brain which killed him.
Immediately after the accident, Mike’s friends raised £38,000 to bring him home but unfortunately he died before he could be airlifted back to the UK.
The money was split between two charities.
Now, they are determined to raise more cash in Mike’s memory and have surpassed their target of £10,000.
Writing on their fundraising page, the group said: ‘Full of life, energy, determination, humour and an astounding general knowledge, Mike excelled as a school teacher, son, brother and friend. He was an inspiration.
‘Relentlessly positive and utterly dedicated to those he loved, he was never happier than when he was on his bike, in the mountains undertaking feats of physical endurance to raise money for charitable causes close to his heart.
‘His tragic and premature death has left a massive hole in our lives.
‘To celebrate his life and honour his memory in a way he’d approve of, we are undertaking a comparatively modest challenge of our own - in Paris, a city where Mike lived for a year and made some amazing memories.’
To donate please pay a visit to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/ToParisforPorridge.