Sunderland goalscoring legend Marco Gabbiadini will be keeping Echo readers up to date as he and more than 50 other riders take on a 320-mile cycle challenge across Europe next month.
Former striker Marco, now 47, a crowd favourite during his time at Roker Park from 1987 to 1991, will be writing a daily blog from the Foundation of Light’s Ride of Remembrance, a four-day ride from Brussels to Paris starting on Wednesday.
The ride commemorates the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and will take in many war landmarks around the Ardennes area, scene of the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.
More than 50 riders are taking part in the ride, which has become a popular annual event in the Foundation’s fund-raising programme.
Previous challenges have seen riders cycle from Dublin to Sunderland and across Italy, raising tens of thousands of pounds to help fund the Foundation’s community projects aimed at improving education, health and reducing crime.
Marco, who also played for Crystal Palace, Derby County and Darlington during his professional career, said: “I’m looking forward to the ride and keeping readers up to date with where we are and how we’ve done each day.
It won’t be easy and there are some tough days, but I’m sure it will be enjoyable and the key thing is we’ll raise plenty of money for a very important regional charity.Marco Gabbiadini
“It won’t be easy and there are some tough days, but I’m sure it will be enjoyable and the key thing is we’ll raise plenty of money for a very important regional charity.”
The ride has been supported by event principal sponsors Grafton Group plc and OSE European.
Marco is being personally sponsored by Quantam Law LLP.
Ken Teears, development director at the Foundation, and also one of the riders, said: “The annual ride has become an important date in our fund-raising calendar.
“And although this year’s event will be a physical challenge, I’m sure the camaraderie will keep us going – we’ll all be pleased to see the Eiffel Tower where our ride ends, though.”
Marco’s first blog will be online on Tuesday evening and in the paper next Wednesday.
Readers can sponsor him through his JustGiving page at justgiving.com/MarcoGabbiadini10
• For more information about the Foundation and the work it does, visit its new website at www.foundationoflight.co.uk