REMEMBERED: Dave Watson, second from left at the back, with the Warm Age group last year
REMEMBERED: Dave Watson, second from left at the back, with the Warm Age group last year

THE memory of a man who brought warmth to hundreds of people in fuel poverty is to be celebrated in a 330-mile charity bike ride by his sons.

Dave Watson is best remembered in Teesdale for running the Barnard Castle community interest company Warm Age Wood, which provided briquettes to people in need. He also ran a knitting circle with profits going from the sale of scarves, gloves and other items going towards the cost of the briquettes.

Mr Watson died of pancreatic cancer late last year.

Now his sons Tom and Ben Watson, and Taigh and Finn Connor-Watson want to raise cash for Pancreatic Cancer Action to help raise awareness about the disease and to encourage early diagnosis.

Taigh Connor-Watson said: “Dad was born in Ardersier, in Scotland, but lived in many places including Hong Kong, Turkey and Cornwall before settling in Barnard Castle.

“He brought his sense of life, love and humour to each of those places. Ideally we would like to do the same, but for now we are going to undertake the much shorter journey, of only 330 plus miles, from Ardersier to Barnard Castle.”

They are hoping to use mountain bikes for the challenge, but there may be a four brother tandem stage.

The have called their ride “Come On Let’s Fly”.

Mr Connor-Watson said: “We are going to climb as many mountains and cross as many valleys as possible along the way. We are doing this for a specific charity that is close to all of our hearts.”

The brothers have raised £645 on their webpage but hope to raise £5,000 before June 25. They will set off on their five-day adventure on June 22.

Pancreatic Cancer Action is a national charity dedicated to saving lives by improving early diagnosis of the disease and the quality of patient survival. The charity funds vital research, creates medical education programmes, produces national awareness campaigns and gives vital patient information.

Mr Connor-Watson said: “For those diagnosed in time for their surgery, their chance of surviving beyond five years increases tenfold.

“Together we can make a difference.”

Pancreatic cancer is the UK’s fifth biggest cancer, affecting both men and women. Twenty six people are newly diagnosed with the disease each day and half of those diagnosed are done so as an emergency. Only five per cent of those diagnosed survive beyond five years.

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