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Asthmatic priest, 72, to cycle four laps round former Derbyshire parishes

14 August 2020

The Very Revd Geoffrey Marshall on his bicycle in Costa Rica

The Very Revd Geoffrey Marshall on his bicycle in Costa Rica

A RETIRED priest plans to cycle 100 miles around his former churches in Derbyshire to raise money for Asthma UK.

The Very Revd Geoffrey Marshall, Dean Emeritus of Brecon Cathedral, had intended to complete the 100-mile Prudential Ride through London and Surrey on Saturday, but the race has been postponed owing to the coronavirus. He was due to raise money for Asthma UK — 34 years after he ran his first and only marathon for the charity.

Dean Marshall, who has completed several charity bike rides in the past, and suffers from asthma, said this week: “I’m 72 now — if I leave it for another year, I might not be fit enough to do it.”

Instead, on the same date and for the same cause, he plans to cycle four 25-mile laps around his former churches in the Derbyshire area: Christ Church, Belper, where he was Priest-in-Charge between 1978 and 1986; St Werburgh’s, Spondon, where he was Vicar from 1986 and 1993; and Derby Cathedral, where he was a Canon Residentiary from 1992 until 2002. He was also the Rural Dean of Derby North from 1990 to 1995

Dean Marshall, who has had asthma since he was a child, said: “My parents worked in the health service, and my daughter-in-law is a nurse; so I wanted to show my support to a charity that has helped take the pressure off the NHS during the crisis. My family were very anxious about my asthma when the lockdown began and Covid-19 spread. Asthma UK’s website and emails provided my family and me with reassuring information on how to stay safe.”

Dean Marshall later served in Wrexham, and was Dean of Brecon, from 2008 to 2014, until his retirement in 2014, when he returned from Wales to Derbyshire.

He plans to complete the ride alone, but has said that anyone in the Derby area who wishes to show support at a safe distance is welcome. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/geoffrey-marshall2

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