Son to cycle to Paris in memory of rugby president dad

John Winders, who died last May at the age of 76

John Winders, who died last May at the age of 76 - Credit: Andrew Winders

A son has paid tribute to rugby mad dad who was "never seen without a smile" as he prepares to get on his bike and cycle to Paris. 

John Winders, the president of Eastern Counties Rugby Union, died last May at the age of 76.  

Since he was a child, John was into rugby, supporting teams and getting involved in the action. 

His son Andrew Winders, who organised an online fundraising in memory of his dad, said: “He did a lot of work for the rugby union and extended it into charity work as well." 

Andrew Winders, who pays tribute to his dad

Andrew Winders, who pays tribute to his dad - Credit: Andrew Winders

“Nobody was aware of how much he was actually doing and how much support he gave to lots of individual rugby clubs and charities.” 

Andrew said that his dad always wanted to spend as much time with his grandchildren as possible.  

“He very much enjoyed going on holiday with my mum. Rugby and family took up most of his time.” 

John lived in Ipswich for many years and then moved to Hadleigh before moving to Bury St Edmunds a year and a half ago. 

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To remember his dad, Andrew set up a fundraising cycling challenge for Wooden Spoon charity that supports disadvantaged children and those with specific needs. 

He said: "Wooden Spoon was the nominated charity for my dad's funeral. 

“We asked people to instead of buying flowers, donate money to this charity, because of the amazing work it does. 

“I also wanted to do something myself, so I decided to cycle to Paris and raise funds for the charity.” 

Andrew, 48, who is a passionate cyclist, said that his dad got him into sport. 

He said: “Dad believed in the value of sport and got me very involved in lots of things. He would drive all over the country to take me to play cricket when I was younger.” 

His aim is to get to France in four days and raise £5,000. 

Now based in Henley-on-Thames, the former Ipswich resident said that his company will match and double the donations he raises. 

Andrew added: “Everybody I've spoken to, who knows my dad, has said they want to do everything that they can to maintain the memory of my dad. 

“Wooden Spoon charity is looking to announce their next project in the honour of my dad.  

“He was a very caring, thoughtful individual who provided huge encouragement and opportunities for everybody.” 

John's friends said that "he was never seen without a smile on his face".