Rugby referee cycles 2217km around UK to raise £100k in memory of friend and father

55-year-old Andrew Peterson, a dad of four from Dollar in Scotland, 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 just seven days.

Pedalling over 250km a day solo and unsupported, often through the night due to dangerous temperatures, Andrew cycled the length and breadth of Britain in memory of his friend and Lions prop, Tom Smith, and his own father, Iain Peterson, who both tragically died from bowel cancer.

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

With donations still coming into 40tude, the charity Andrew was fundraising for, his ride has already raised more than £140,000 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.

Andrew said, "Tom was a Lions legend and 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.  He encouraged me to do the ride whatever happened to him. After sadly dying in April, we decided to honour Tom by naming the research fellowship in Tom's name - "The Tom Smtih Fellowship".

Finishing at Ardnamurchan Lighthouse surrounded by family and friends, Andrew had to pass the grave of his father two miles from the finish.

Andrew added, “The main thing with bowel cancer is being aware of the symptoms. It’s treatable if you detect it early. What my father and Tom didn’t do was act when they had the symptoms, by the time they did it was too late. I want everyone to know the symptoms and get checked out."

During the ride, which was tracked live, Andrew gained support and encouragement from all corners of the world but perhaps more poignantly from the former Scotland and England rugby players who played with Tom.

When asked whether he contemplated giving up at all during the seven days, he said, "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."

Those who feel inspired by Andrew's ride to donate can do so at: