College of West Anglia lecturer Kevin Graves, who inspired so many, loses battle with cancer
© Archant Norfolk 2012
Mr Graves, 46, who died at his home in Snettisham yesterday, set out to fulfil his lifetime’s ambition when he was diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer, riding his bike up a mountain to raise money for the chemotherapy unit which had been treating him.
He climbed the Alpe d’Huez, one of the toughest stages of the Tour De France, with his sister-in-law and fellow cyclist Helen Anderson.
The pair raised £3,000 for the MacMillan Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Mr Graves, who leaves wife Mandy and sons Michael and Luke, began planning his ride the day after he was diagnosed in January.
He said he wanted to turn a negative into a positive for patients at the centre.
Yesterday, Mrs Graves said of her husband: “He was just a true inspiration to everybody.”
Mr Graves served in the military before completing a degree in sport science. After a spell as a marine biologist, he joined the College of West Anglia in 2007, as a lecturer in sport, going on to become course director. He was also the first to coach a rugby team at the college, which now has a rugby academy.
Last night, colleague Tommy Goode said: “He was an extraordinary guy with tons of spirit and motivation who will be missed but not forgotten.
“Kevin has been an inspiration to students and colleagues, he was a fitness fanatic regularly cycling and taking part in triathlons and over the years Kevin has raised thousands of pounds for a number of charities and, most recently, working with college students back in December to cycle 260 miles in one day.
“He will be remembered as someone with great character, tenacity, determination, a great role model and a true inspiration to others.
“His legacy will live on at the college with our fund raising efforts under the twitter tag doitforkev, used by students this year.”
Patricia Wright, chief executive of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: “This is extremely sad news for us all and our thoughts are with Kevin’s family. He was someone who clearly lived life to the full, despite his illness, and did so much for the benefit of other chemotherapy patients.
“Kevin was loved and respected by our staff who knew him well, particularly at the MacMillan Centre and it was privilege to have known him.”