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Pete Glanville and Dean Ryan to take part in charity cycle ride in support of Ed Slater

All Areas > Sport > Rugby Union

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Tuesday, 13th February 2024, 09:00

Former Gloucester second row Ed Slater Former Gloucester second row Ed Slater

Big names from Gloucester rugby’s recent past will be hitting the road next month to raise money for a cause very close to their hearts.

Former skipper Pete Glanville and one-time director of rugby Dean Ryan will be among those taking part in a charity cycle ride which will see them cover some 100 miles from Kingsholm to Welford Road, home of Leicester Tigers.

Gloucester and Leicester are the two Premiership clubs that ex-second row Ed Slater played for, of course, before the now 35-year-old was forced to retire from the game in July 2022 after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).

It was a diagnosis that deeply affected everyone within the game as well as those in the wider community and the 4Ed campaign, which was set up following his diagnosis and provides support for families affected by MND, has been extremely well supported.

Leicester host Gloucester in a Premiership game on Friday 22nd March (7.45pm) and 22 other cyclists will join Glanville and Ryan on that day to raise awareness about MND and to raise funds for those families affected by the condition.

“We’ll set off from Kingsholm some time between 7.30am and 8am,” said 52-year-old Glanville, a fearless blindside flanker who played for Gloucester back in the 1990s.

Ex-Gloucester players Lee Fortey and Rob York will also be taking part in the cycle ride, as well as Carl Hogg who is Gloucester’s current Director of Academy and Development.

The group will also include a number of Gloucester supporters as well as a dozen Leicester fans with everyone on the ride motivated to do all they can to support Slater, a married dad of three young children.

MND is a condition that affects the brains and nerves causing weaknesses that get worse over time. Former Scotland second row Doddie Weir, who died at the age of 52 in November 2022, was diagnosed with  the condition in 2016.

“When Ed announced that he had MND it affected everyone,” said Glanville. “Despite Ed’s debilitating illness he is still heavily involved in the 4Ed foundation and is constantly coming up with new ideas to raise awareness, funds and support for families in Gloucestershire suffering with MND.” 

Glanville, a season-ticket holder at Gloucester, saw the powerful Slater play many times for the club and he added: “Whether you’re an older player or a new player, if you’ve played for the club you always have that relationship.”

And Glanville is pleased that he can do something to support Slater.

“It’s easy not to do anything and it’s easy to just feel sorry for somebody,” said Glanville, a keen cyclist who 10 years ago rode from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.

“But we saw this is an opportunity to raise funds and raise awareness about MND.”

Slater, who joined Gloucester in 2017, enjoyed a stellar playing career and was a Premiership title winner during his seven years at Leicester.

Sixth-placed Leicester are currently three places and nine points ahead of Gloucester in the 10-strong division, a gap that Gloucester supporters will be hoping doesn’t get any bigger when the two clubs meet next month.

But as well as playing for Premiership points, the two teams will also be competing for the Slater Cup, a trophy established in Slater’s honour and one that is presented to the winning captain after every game between the two sides.

That is always a very poignant moment.

Anyone who would like to make a donation in support of this month’s cycle ride should visit www.justgiving.com/page/4Ed-cycle-ride

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