An Angus family is preparing to saddle up for their latest fundraising ‘Tour de Tayside’ in a poignant cycle challenge in memory of their father.
On August 11, the Russo family hope to be joined by other keen cyclists for the 43-mile run which will take them from the town on a route covering Carnoustie, the Sidlaws, Newtyle and back to Forfar.
It will be the fifth run held to raise money in memory of popular Forfar figure Joe Russo on what will be an emotional anniversary for his family.
The well-known local businessman originally owned pet shops and ran a successful boarding and breeding kennels but was probably best known as Forfar’s ice-cream man in an era when the chime of the bells was eagerly awaited by youngsters throughout the town.
“After a brave fight against acute myeloid leukaemia, Dad sadly died on August 8 1994,” said daughter Alison Brown.
“The first year we raised enough money to try and take our dad to Lourdes, but unfortunately he was too ill and passed away just two weeks’ later.
“Instead another patient from the ward in Ninewells, who had become a close friend made the worthwhile trip, with rest of the money going to Leukaemia Research
“We have now held this event on four separate occasions in his memory and in the process, have raised an amazing amount of money for blood cancer research at Ninewells in Dundee.
“We then decided to stage the bike run every five years with money raised being split between the excellent blood cancer patients’ ward in Ninewells and the other half going to Leukaemia Research, now known as Bloodwise.
“Here we are, 25 years on and 25 years older and off we go again to raise money for the ward and more superb research,” added Alison, the owner of Boyz-Zone hairdresser in Forfar, where sponsor forms are available, as well as from Re-Invention, Forfar.
“We’d love to hear from anyone who would like to join us on the day. We’re not expert cyclists and for us it’s all about raising as much as we can and remembering dad.”
Donations can also be made online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tourdetayside