A DIEHARD Swindon Town fan was given a captain’s salute when he arrived at the County Ground this weekend after a charity cycle ride.
Geoff Ketley, who suffers with Type-2 Diabetes, cycled the 60 miles between his Southampton home and the County Ground for Diabetes UK ahead of the Robins’ 4-0 demolition of Bournemouth on Saturday.
The 58-year-old, who was born in Swindon but moved to the south coast when he was just seven, says he has been a life-long Swindon Town fan.
He is still a season ticket holder and was also doing the ride in memory of his father Arthur Ketley, who was also diabetic and died four years ago, aged 79.
His dad first took him to a Swindon testimonial game against Blackburn in 1961 and he has been hooked ever since, even travelling up for home games after moving to Southampton.
After four hours and 10 minutes on his bike he was greeted by Reds’ captain Alan McCormack and midfielder Simon Ferry on the hallowed turf before kick-off.
Geoff said: “It went really well, although the wind was going in the wrong direction for me and it was colder than any of my training rides.
“I actually did it quicker than I thought I would be able to – I was expecting at least four hours and 30 minutes. I’m really pleased I did it but I don’t think I’ll be doing for every home game, although the win made it worthwhile.
“I only decided to do the cycle because I wanted to get fit again after breaking my collar-bone, which I did falling off my bike.
“I used to go to the gym regularly but when I went back it wasn’t as much fun, so I started cycling. Then I had an idea to cycle to a Swindon game and thought I may as well raise money for charity while I’m at it.
“It was great to meet Ferry and McCormack though, and I spoke to the chief executive Nick Watkins too so the club were great.
“Also one of the people from the Adver forum saw me at half-time and gave me a donation.
“I’ve got to about £1,400 now which is amazing. I didn’t have an amount in mind when I started, but I know the money will go a long way for charity.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Diabetes UK in support of Geoff’s cause can visit the website www.justgiving.com/Geoff-Ketley