A former England footballer and charity fundraiser will officially open an exhibition of artwork at a Rastrick pub next month.
Geoff Thomas, ex-England and Crystal Palace, has recently finished one of cycling’s most gruelling challenges by riding the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and La Vuetta rides in the same summer.
The 53-year-old, along with three other cyclists, have become the first amateur team to ride all three of the Grand Tours consecutively, pedalling more than 6,000 miles over the summer in aid of the charity, Cure Leukaemia, raising £1m for the benefit of thousands.
Not bad going for someone who was told back in 2003 that he was suffering from chronic myeloid leukaemia and had only three months to live.
Fortunately he recovered and went on to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award in 2005 after raising more than £150,000 for Leukaemia Research – on this occasion cycling 2,200 miles in 21 days.
Accomplished Fixby artist Geoff Wood said: “I’m proud to say that Geoff is my nephew (named after me!) and on the evening of Sunday, October 29, he will be officially opening an exhibition of my work at the Four Sons Inn. All profit from the exhibition and sale of paintings and prints will go to Leukaemia Research.
“A framed print of Baby Barn Swallows on display at the Four Sons and Pure Gold on display at The Roundhill pub just a few hundred yards away will be raffled at the event and Geoff will draw the winning tickets. Hopefully the raffle will also bring much-needed revenue for the charity.”
Mr Wood, a former student of Manchester Art School, spent many years working in the textile and wallpaper design industry. And with a background in art and design, the lifelong Man City fan is well-known for his sporting portraits and caricatures.
One of his main claims to fame was being asked by Huddersfield Town to paint a montage depicting their 90th anniversary and to design a limited edition of china plates and tankards.
The painting was subsequently put into print and sold, along with the plates and tankards, to Town supporters.
As well as painting portraits of some of the country’s top Premier League footballers he was asked to depict ‘The End of An Era’ when the old Wembley stadium was pulled down.
Most momentously of all, perhaps, he was asked to sketch a portrait of Manchester United’s Treble-winning team of 2007-08 which, as he wryly commented, was not exactly a labour of love!