‘I’m sure Chris would have been proud of us’

MAKING HIM PROUD: Chris Olley's daughters Megan and Georgina with Jenny in the middle
MAKING HIM PROUD: Chris Olley's daughters Megan and Georgina with Jenny in the middle
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The family of a Sudbury man and staunch football supporter are staging a fundraiser to aid research into motor neurone disease.

Chris Olley, 52, of Bank Side in Long Melford, died in December from pneumonia after a long battle with the condition.

He worked as a volunteer at AFC Sudbury but was forced to give up his job due to his failing health. During his time at the club, he raised thousands of pounds through his voluntary role.

On Sunday, September 8, members of his family will ride in the London to Brighton bike race, which covers 54 miles from Clapham to Brighton seafront.

Mr Olley’s sister Jenny, from Eldred Drive, Great Cornard, said the family wanted to raise more awareness and research into the disease.

She said: “Chris’ daughters Megan and Georgina, plus Megan’s husband Morrison, Chris’ stepson Jordan and a friend will be taking part in the ride.

“I recently found out that motor neurone charities get £2million in donations a year compared with the £300million which cancer research gets.

“In the last 20 years, death rates in cancer have reduced by 40 per cent because of the research that now takes place. Motor neurone has a long way to go to reach any similar success.”

She said her father, Eric Olley, 78, who was born and brought up in Sudbury, had also died from the disease.

Jenny said: “This is also the second anniversary of my father’s death.

“Research is required to look into the genetics of the disease, as it now seems that there appears to be links in several cases.”

She said her brother had known about the family taking part in the bike ride before his death.

“I went to the Olympics last year and saw Bradley Wiggins win his gold and it inspired me to come back and buy a bike,” she said.

“We told Chris we were going to do the London to Brighton bike ride but he said he did not think he would be here when we came to do it. I’m sure he would be very proud of us.”

AFC Sudbury are supporting the family’s bike ride, and there are sponsor forms at the club for people to get behind the fundraiser.

Members of the family have their own web pages at www.doitforcharity.com – simply follow the links to place a donation.

Around £4,000 is the figure that the family will have raised from various events in aid of research into the disease, including a donation given by the club at a launch party for the Live and Kicking music festival held at the Mel Group stadium earlier this year.

A further £1,300 was raised in Mr Olley’s memory thanks to match day collections at AFC Sudbury.

The family are now in training and hope that the public will get behind them and donate.