With 22 fundraisers set to take part in The Speed Cycle this weekend in memory of former Blues captain and boyhood Evertonian Gary Speed, his mother Carol has spoken to evertonfc.com about why Everton in the Community’s proposed new mental health facility is so important.
The Speed Cycle, which will raise funds for the ongoing ‘People’s Place’ campaign, will visit the home grounds of all of Gary’s former clubs – starting at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park and ending at Goodison Park, with stop-offs at Leeds United, Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers.
The aim is to hit a £65,000 fundraising target – £1,000 for each of the 65 appearances Welshman Speed made for the Blues. All the proceeds from the event will go towards the overall £1million fundraising target to help build The People’s Place in L4.
Speed’s parents Carol and Roger have backed and endorsed the ride, and even made the first donation from the Gary Speed Foundation – a charity that was founded in Gary’s memory following his tragic suicide in 2011.
The Speed Cycle was officially launched at Everton in the Community’s birthday fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers in February, with Carol and Roger taking to the pitch at half-time to help raise awareness.
“I had a lovely day and I really enjoyed it” said Carol, reflecting on the fantastic reception they received from the Goodison faithful.
“Gary was so well thought of by everybody and we didn’t realise the true extent of that until after he’d passed.
Bramall Lane is checkpoint number 3️⃣ this weekend!
— Everton (@Everton) May 29, 2019
“Playing for Everton was his dream and he was absolutely made up when he signed for them. We had some fantastic times as a family coming to Everton.”
Speaking about The People’s Place, which will provide mental health support to all and encourage men, women and children to talk more freely and openly when they are experiencing problems, Carol added: “It seems as though mental health is really coming to the fore. People are talking about it a lot more than they did.
“To me, it’s since what happened to Gary that it has come out into the open more and people are speaking out more, which is so vital.
“The fact that The People’s Place is going to be built so close to Goodison is great. Gary would be thrilled about that.”
🚲 | Why are some of the 22 fans taking on the #SpeedCycle this weekend?
— Everton in the Community (@EITC) May 30, 2019