Cycle challenge fundraiser to be held in memory of tragic footballer Stuart Ross
A seven-hill cycle challenge will take place tomorrow in memory of a footballer who died suddenly.
Stuart Ross (24) from Islandmagee, Co Antrim, passed away after collapsing during an amateur league game in September 2013. His death caused great shock in the community.
The cycle challenge fundraiser, which is in its fifth year, will commence at Whitehead Fire Station at noon following entry from 11am and covers a seven-hill circuit or 20 miles around the Islandmagee peninsula.
The fundraiser is being organised by Noel McKee, who is from Whitehead.
He said: "This is the fifth year that it has taken place.
"Stuart came from a well-known Islandmagee family and his death has affected quite a few people."
He estimated that this year's event would raise approximately £2,000.
Around 130 cyclists are expected to take part.
Noel added: "It's a 20-mile cycle around Islandmagee which is tougher than it sounds. On top of that is the seven-hill challenge which is very tough and catches people out.
"It's a great way to burn off calories between Christmas and New Year. It's not a race, just a great way to remember a fantastic lad and to continue to support his family."
Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Mindwise and Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke charities.
Stuart had been playing for Islandmagee II in a match against Shankill United when tragedy struck 25 minutes into the match. He collapsed and died in front of his team-mates.
At the time, Stuart had been working as a trainee accountant in Moore Stephens in Larne.
His dad David said: "Although it has been devastating, we get great comfort from the fact that Stuart didn't suffer or die alone and we know that he was loved deeply by his family and friends.
"Big Noel has been another star when considering efforts made to keep us all sane and has shown us great support throughout."
Mr Ross said that an example of his support is the big charity cycle that he has organised annually.