Four North Walsham cabbies plan trip to 93 football clubs to battle back after ‘soul destroying’ loss

Taxi drivers fromNorth Walsham who will be driving to all of the 93 league football grounds inside 8

Taxi drivers fromNorth Walsham who will be driving to all of the 93 league football grounds inside 80 hours for the Big C charity. Pictured from left David Johnson, Andy Bales, Jamie Ducker and Gareth Ducker.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Four taxi drivers have set themselves a charity goal of driving to 93 football grounds in 80 hours after suffering family cancer heartache.

Taxi drivers fromNorth Walsham who will be driving to all of the 93 league football grounds inside 8

Taxi drivers fromNorth Walsham who will be driving to all of the 93 league football grounds inside 80 hours for the Big C charity. Pictured from left David Johnson, Andy Bales, Jamie Ducker and Gareth Ducker.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Gareth Ducker and his older brother Jamie lost their 60-year-old mother Janet in February to cancer, just five weeks after she was diagnosed.

Now the duo and two friends from Elite Cabs in North Walsham are raising money for Norfolk cancer charity The Big C by asking people to sponsor them on their epic August trip to all corners of England.

Gareth Ducker, 35, from Mundesley said his mother's death was 'soul destroying.' Cancer has dealt a double blow to his family with his wife Lisa battling breast cancer for the past three years. But thankfully the mother-of-four, 43, has now been given the all clear.

His mum was less fortunate. Janet Ducker, who worked at TC Transport in North Walsham, came home on January 18 and had a bath, but felt dizzy and could not get out.

Janet Ducker, who died from cancer this year. Picture: Gareth Ducker

Janet Ducker, who died from cancer this year. Picture: Gareth Ducker - Credit: Archant

A trip to the doctors' the next day saw her transferred to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where she was diagnosed with a lesion on the brain.

Further tests revealed cancer had spread to her kidney, lungs and brain.

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'At the time doctors said my mum's cancer was never going to be curable, but that it was treatable,' said Mr Ducker.

His mother, who lived at Bradfield Road, underwent a five-day course of radiotherapy on her brain, but then deteriorated too fast for chemotherapy treatment.

Taxi drivers fromNorth Walsham who will be driving to all of the 93 league football grounds inside 8

Taxi drivers fromNorth Walsham who will be driving to all of the 93 league football grounds inside 80 hours for the Big C charity. Pictured from left David Johnson, Andy Bales, Jamie Ducker and Gareth Ducker.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Mr Ducker said: 'She couldn't walk and she was losing weight.'

On February 20 the grandmother-of -five was taken to hospital again for a kidney biopsy. A hospital bed was delivered to her home but she never made it back to North Walsham and died two days later.

Mr Ducker said: 'Unfortunately she took a turn for the worse. There was nothing they could do for her.'

But to help others with the illness and thank the hospital staff, Mr Ducker and his friends have organised a trip of more than 2,200 miles around all the football league clubs and Wembley Arena, finishing at Norwich City Football Club.

'I would like to show my appreciation,' said Mr Ducker. 'The staff did a fantastic job for both my wife and my mum.'

Mr Ducker is joined by his 37-year-old brother Jamie, Elite Cabs owner Andy Bales, 48, and Dave Johnson, who lost his mother to cancer last year.

Those affected by cancer have been invited to sponsor a 'red card' to 'send off cancer'. They will be attached to the vehicle the taxi drivers drive across the country from August 27 to 30.

Clubs range from Newcastle United and Carlisle United in the north, Swansea City in the west, and Plymouth Argyle in the south.

They have asked each club to submit a prize for a charity raffle set to take place in the autumn, and have issued a plea for a vehicle to use on the trip.

To sponsor the men or offer a vehicle visit www.justgiving.com/93forthebigc or call Elite Cabs on 01692 400800.

To pick up a red card to write a loved one's name on visit the Elite office at 2 Market Street, North Walsham.

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