When Steve 'Garby' Garbett died from prostate cancer in 2014, his son Dave and Preston North End manager Simon Grayson – Steve's best friend – started fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK in his memory. Soon after, Team Garby was born and three Continental bike rides and many fundraising events later, some of the team are joining Jeff Stelling on his March for Men looking to take their enormous donations total even higher. From a funeral collection to a private performance by the Kaiser Chiefs, we look back at their extraordinary fundraising journey over the last three years.
It all started with a collection, selling Prostate Cancer UK's 'Man of men' pin-badges at Steve’s funeral and raising £2,456.01.
"I’ll never forget that penny!" jokes Dave [pictured below with his dad, Steve, and holding his hand on his final day]. "It’s amazing how much awareness those little lapel badges can raise.
"So many people see the badge worn on TV by football managers and pundits. But it’s even more provoking when you see random people wearing them, knowing that we’re all part of a movement to change the game for men everywhere."
In 2015, Dave and Simon roped some of their mates into cycling our Football to Amsterdam bike ride – a two-day, 145-mile pedal-pilgrimage. Eleven riders made up the first Team Garby squad to take on the epic challenge.
The team pulled together to put on a number of fundraising events and smashed their minimum £1,000 sponsorship targets. That included a charity football match at Bedale Town FC, a Gentleman’s Dinner, Q&As with Simon Grayson [pictured below], donations rather than gifts for birthdays and collection tins at local shops – as well as regular sponsorship from family and friends.
In fact, Dave won our prestigious Orange Jersey for being the highest individual fundraiser for the ride [pictured below with Team Garby riders Simon Grayson (left) and Martyn Coombs (right)].
Team Garby returned to the peloton the following year, raising even more money with a raft of brilliant schemes. From donating weddings and making and selling reindeers at Christmas [pictured below], to sponsored cycling jerseys and a huge charity ball at Leeds Royal Armouries – fundraising ideas big and small contributed to the pot.
This time it was the whole of Team Garby that won the Orange Jerseys, as both the team who raised the most money and the individual, too – Steve Loney.
This year, Team Garby set their sights on hitting the big £100k – and to do it, they predicted a riot. Simon Grayson held another charity ball, at the Queens Hotel in Leeds, which was gate-crashed by the multi-award winning band, the Kaiser Chiefs.
Lead singer Ricky Wilson wore a 'Man of Men' pin-badge throughout his set.
"Garby loved the Kaiser Chiefs," says Simon. "So to have them show up on the night and surprise all of the guests was a perfect way to celebrate his life with family and friends.
"I was honoured to host the night alongside Steve’s family. They’ve been instrumental in Team Garby’s fundraising and I know Steve would be so proud of them."
The night raised over £42k and helped the team smash their target.
Now the team switched their sights to £132k to reflect the number of men who’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer since they started fundraising back in 2014. Could they hit it before they rode out from Barnsley FC on Thursday 8 June?
Of course they did – and with a day to spare!
We’ve heard the quarter-of-a-million milestone mentioned, so watch this space!
But right now, they’re swapping their lycra for walking boots to join Jeff Stelling on day 13 of his March for Men, walking from Harrogate to Bedale.
Good luck Team Garby, and thank you for all your incredible support over the last three years!