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Family of late Cupar picture framer Pete Cura Jr geared for poignant 1500 mile charity cycle to Italy

Graham Laing, Mike Cura and Dave Cura who will be cycling 1500 miles from Cupar to North Italy
Graham Laing, Mike Cura and Dave Cura who will be cycling 1500 miles from Cupar to North Italy

The family of well-known Cupar picture framer and renowned stand-up poet Pete Cura Jr who died unexpectedly last year, are to celebrate his life with a 1500 mile (2400km) charity cycle across Europe.

Following a very successful exhibition of Pete’s artwork and creative talents in Cupar last September, several of his siblings and a brother-in-law will set off on a six–week journey from Cupar that will finish up at the Cura family village of Buzzo in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

Pete’s brothers Mike, 57, and Dave, 53, and his sister Louise’s husband Graham, 61, who are all inexperienced cyclists, will depart from Pete’s Gallery on Burnside, Cupar, on June 25.

Sister Louise and Pete’s youngest brother John will follow them in support vehicles.

Pete Cura Jnr, who died in March 2021, aged 61

The rest of the family then plan to make the journey over to Italy in August to welcome them at the end of their adventure.

They will get together there to remember Pete’s life, with his Italian friends, in a place he loved.

Pete’s sister Louise Laing told The Courier: “Pete, I’m sure would think we were completely mad to be even attempting this – but I’m sure he will be with us in spirit helping us to get through the tough days.

”We are doing this to raise money for Blood Cancer UK to help fund their vital research in memory of Pete, who very privately and bravely fought Myelofibrosis, a rare form of blood cancer.

Louise Laing with her brother John, mum Louise and dad Pete with a portrait of Pete Jr at Pete Cura Jr’s former Gallery in Burnside, Cupar

“We would like to invite Pete’s friends and anyone who knows him or us to come along to the Gallery on June 25 at 9.30am to see us off. We definitely need all the support and encouragement we can get!”

‘Nicest guy on the planet’

Pete, a loving brother, uncle and much loved and respected friend to many, passed away peacefully on March 10, 2021, aged just 61, in the company of his parents Pete and Louise at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, after battling the rare type of blood cancer.

The passing of the former Bell Baxter High School pupil, Edinburgh College of Art graduate,  2004 Scottish Slam poetry champion and organiser of the spoken word tent at the Wickerman Festival in Dumfries and Galloway for over 10 years, led to an outpouring of warm tributes from far and wide.

At a time when Covid-19 restrictions limited attendance at his funeral service, large crowds gathered to pay their respects outside his gallery in Burnside, Cupar, as his funeral cortege paused on its way to a private cremation and Celebration of Life in Dundee.

Pete Cura Jr funeral cortege passes along Burnside, Cupar in 2021

In September, a special exhibition of Pete’s work took place over three weekends at his former gallery with the opening day coinciding with C in the Park – a community celebration that took place in Cupar’s Haugh Park.

Amongst the events that took place was a tribute performance by Pete’s old band Milton Balgoni and the Balgoni Boyz, featuring “guests”.

Through those events, his friends raised £4000 for the Haematology Unit at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, which cared for Peter for over nine years.

The sale of t-shirts bearing a tribute to Pete’s stage persona Milton Balgoni also raised money for a planned poetry trail in his hometown of Cupar.

Where did the cycle idea come from?

Pete’s brother-in-law Graham told The Courier the idea for the cycle came from retired teacher Mike Cura within days of Pete’s passing.

While none of them are “really cyclists”, they’d recently bonded on a “training camp” in Yorkshire and were now geared up for the challenge ahead.

“We’ve planned a route that will take us 40 days including 32 days on the bikes with rest days and contingency days factored in,” said Graham 61, a retired RAF serviceman, offshore worker and technical studies teacher of Cupar.

Caricature of Pete Cura Jr

“We’ll go from Scotland down the east coast to Newcastle, get the ferry over to Amsterdam then take in Arnhem, follow the Rhine right down to Strasbourg, Basel, Lake Constance then head across the Alps. We’ll camp along the way.

“Mike, bless him, has found a route over the Alps that will allow us to do it in smaller chunks.

“Most days we’ll do an average of 35 to 50 miles. But there’s one day we want to do 100 miles from Verona to Venice, just to say we’ve done it. From there we’ll back track a bit and end up at the family village of Buzzo.

“I’m sure Pete would think we were crazy but we’re looking forward to it.”

The fundraisers, who’ve set a target of at last £5000 for Blood Cancer UK, have set up a fundraising page and welcome donations:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tourdmilt

Friends and anyone who knew Pete are also invited to gather for the cyclists’ send-off outside The Gallery, Burnside, Cupar at 9.30am on Saturday June 25.

Pete Cura Jr: Tributes to Cupar picture framer, stand-up poet and ‘nicest guy on the planet’

Pete Cura Jnr exhibition: A fitting tribute to Cupar picture framer, slam poet and ‘amazing son and brother’

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