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Cyclists go from Chelmsford to Cornwall in best friend's memory

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: April 06, 2013

Left to right: Julia, Adam, and William Wells, Mike Prowse, Kate Prowse, Isobel Wells, Justine Howes and Rob Howes

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THE best friends of a man who died of a sudden brain tumour last June have cycled 300 miles in his honour.

Mike Prowse and Rob Howes embarked on a bike ride from Chelmsford to Cornwall, in memory of Mark Wells, 45.

Mark was diagnosed with the illness three months before he died.

The pair have already raised £10,800 since last autumn, which they are donating to Farleigh Hospice, who cared for Mark during his illness and which impressed the pair with its work.

The training sessions have seen Rob, 42, and Mike tally up over 2,200 miles, and most of it through frost and snow.

The pair set off on Good Friday and made it to Cornwall in five days.

"It was fantastic; it was hard but we had a tail wind helping us along, but its been fabulous," said Mike, 46, from Roxwell.

"The first day was good, but the second was really tough, the third was lovely just cruising along in the breeze but then the last day was just up and down.

"I cannot believe how much we have raised, and it is looking to exceed £11,000 soon. This is more than we ever believed we were able to achieve.

"We are all very happy indeed to have achieved what we have."

Mike and Rob chose to cycle the route from Mark's house, in Swiss Avenue, Chelmsford, to Crackington Haven, which was one of his favourite holiday destinations.

Mark would often holiday there when visiting their family in the West Country with his family Julia Wells, Adam, 14, Isobel, 12, and William, 8.

Mike said: "He was perhaps my closest friend – I don't wish what we all had to go through on anyone.

"It happened so quickly, in the space of three months.

"One minute in January we were living life as normal, having fun, then Mark said he wasn't feeling quite so well.

"It is like being hit by a train really, suddenly you've been thrown into a situation you've never imagined in 100 years will happen.

"We felt we had to do something in Mark's memory and support Farleigh.

"It is not until you lose someone and get involved with an organisation like Farleigh that you realise how much vital work they do."

Mike and Mark knew each other for 20 years and met at Skreens Park Farm, Roxwell, where both their wives had horses.

"We were both horse widowers and we bumped into each other and we just really clicked and became the best of buddies," said Mike.

"It leaves a big hole in your life when someone goes like that, but me and Rob have filled it in with hours of relentless cycling in cold weather.

"Mark was a very special person, who was great fun to be with and was always there if you ever needed any help."

Mark was a senior manager – head of learning and development, customer experience and business development with the Charity Age UK.

To donate to the cause visit their Just Giving page, www.just giving.com/Wheels4Wells.

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