Former King’s pupil returns to Grantham for charity ride

David Howell
David Howell
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A former King’s School boarder travelled back to Grantham last week to embark on a charity bike ride, in memory of a friend who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year.

David Howell, 69, known as ‘Pug’ to his friends in Grantham, attended King’s School as a boarder between 1959 to 1966 before he left to attend Newcastle University. He moved to Somerset 35 years ago.

Whilst at university, he became part of a tight knit group of friends.

David said: “There were 12 of us in our university gang including my friend’s wife Mary, who passed away in March after a two-and-a-half year battle with cancer. She is the first in our group to pass away and it hit us all hard.”

Mary’s family have launched a year-long tribute in which they aim to travel a minimum of 4,500 miles through a shared programme of swimming, running and cycling.

As a keen cyclist, David wanted to do his part.

He said: “I wanted to retrace the journey that I took all those years ago that led me to meeting them. So I decided to cycle 200 miles from Grantham to Newcastle.”

After arriving in Grantham and booking into The Red House Bed and Breakfast on North Parade, David wasted no time in taking a trip down Memory Lane.

He said: “I took a trip to St Wulfram’s Church and discovered it was the beer festival. I heard a man playing the piano and told him that I remembered when my music master from The King’s School used to play. With that, he took me over the road to visit him. He was 93 years old and still as bright as a button.”

David also visited a former classmate for a meal at The Manners Arms in Knipton before setting off from Grantham on Wednesday morning on his 200-mile journey.

He said: “It was tough going at times, especially on the second day as it just poured with rain.”

He finally arrived in Newcastle at 5pm on Friday to be greeted by Mary’s son, whom he had never met.

David added; “We talked and laughed a lot as we shared our memories of Mary. I also went to have a look at Newcastle University.”

David has raised more than £700 for Macmillan Cancer Support so far, but there is still time to donate. Visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/miles4mary