A Tavistock man is taking on the epic cycling challenge from Land’s End to John O’Groats in August to raise funds in memory of his sister who died far too young from a brain tumour.

Paul Thompson took up cycling in the aftermath of sister Lizzi Snaith’s death at the age of just 42 last August. She had battled the disease for 15 years, having been diagnosed initially when she was eight months pregnant with her daughter Katie.

The brave mother of one, from North Yorkshire, carried on with her life, undergoing four operations and raised thousands of pounds for brain tumour research while bringing up Katie with her husband Jim.

She was finally told by doctors that there was nothing more that could be done in January 2023. “She was ok until May or June then went downhill from there,” said Paul. “She died in August.’

Now Paul is paying tribute to her by cycling over 1,000 miles from Cornwall to Scotland with cousins Jack and Harry Ventress and their dad, Paul’s uncle, David Ventress, raising money for the Brain Tumour Research and Saint Catherine’s Hospice in Scarborough - which cared for Lizzi – along the way.

Paul said: “I hadn’t cycled for about 15 years but I started again last year, to relieve the stress of everything that was going on.

“Lizzi used to raise money for all sorts of brain tumour charities and did all sorts of amazing things, ran marathons and ran amazing events. She never stopped. So I wanted to do something in memory of her. I was trying to think of what would be the biggest challenge I could do. Then I thought, I know, I’ll cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats, which is 1,071 miles if you do the route exactly, although if you get lost it is a bit more than that.

“Brain tumour research is underfunded out there which is part of the reason we wanted to do it. The tumour my sister had was quite a rare one, so we wanted to do this as much to raise awareness of brain tumours as well as for the memory of my sister.”

Paul and Keri, who have six children between them, have set up a fundraising page givewheel.com, which can be found by inputting ‘LEJoG 4 Lizzi’. It is also on Facebook and Instagram. For those who would like to donate cash, there is a collecting tin on the Tavistock Times Gazette office on Brook Street.

Leaflets and posters publicising the ride, with a QR code to access the fundraising page, have been printed by Tavistock computer shop ABC Service free of charge and displayed around the town.

Keri, who works as a teaching assistant, added that they wanted to continue Lizzi’s legacy through the trip.

“Lizzi was the bravest and kindest person we know. She never complained. She raised thousands of pounds for brain tumour charities whilst battling the disease herself. All the time being a wfie and mother too.

“There are four of us going on the trip. I will be driving the back-up vehicle and fundraising at each stop with Paul's Auntie Carolyn. Paul's Uncle David will be cycling the whole route alongside him. We hope that we can add to Lizzi's legacy by raising as much as we can for both these charities.”

Lizzi Snaith and her daughter Katie
Lizzi Snaith and her daughter Katie (Submitted)