Rugby referee raises £100k in memory of Lions prop Tom Smith

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Andrew Peterson

Rugby referee Andrew Peterson has raised more than £100k in memory of legendary British & Irish Lions prop Tom Smith after completing an epic 2500km ride.

The 55-year-old, dad of four cycled through the UK’s worst heatwave on record, spending over 16 hours a day in the saddle to reach the four compass points of the United Kingdom in seven days.

Pedalling over 200km a day solo and unsupported, often through the night, Andrew cycled the length and breadth of Britain in memory of his friend and Lions prop Smith and his own father, Iain Peterson, who both died from bowel cancer.

Starting at Lizard Point, Britain’s most Southern point, on Saturday 16th July, Andrew cycled 2217km via Lowestoft Ness, the most Eastern point, Dunnet Head, the most Northern point, finishing at Ardnamurchan Point, the most western point.

Andrew’s ride has raised more than £100,000 to fund a new clinical research fellowship at St Mark’s Hospital in Harrow, named after Tom Smith. The research post will investigate the genetics of hereditary bowel cancer.

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Andrew said: “Tom was a Lions legend and also an ambassador for 40tude, the bowel cancer charity. He was hugely supportive of this ride, and wanted to use his position to make a difference to curing bowel cancer.

Andrew Peterson

“He encouraged me to do the ride whatever happened to him. After he sadly died in April, we decided to honour Tom by naming the research fellowship in Tom’s name – “The Tom Smith Fellowship“.”

When asked whether he contemplated giving up during the seven days, Andrew added: “It’s amazing what you can do if you keep going. Tom showed incredible bravery in fighting his cancer, so giving up was never an option.”

Smith, who was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2019, died in April this year aged 50 after fighting the condition as tenaciously as any contest on the rugby field.

The loosehead prop was part of the iconic 1997 series-winning side before touring again four years later, becoming the only Scottish player to have played in six consecutive Lions Tests.

Described by Sir Ian McGeechan as “the greatest Scotland player of the professional era”, Smith also earned 61 caps for Scotland between 1997 and 2005 during his illustrious career.

To donate to 40tude in connection with the Tom Smith 4 Points Ride, click here.

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