Niall has been supporting Trinity since his father died here in 2014. With Chiswick FC Rugby Club, where his father coached, he has raised over £10,000 for ‘Rocky’s Rascals Magnolia Tribute Fund’ through events including the London Marathon, a memorial rugby match and a London to Paris cycle ride.

In 20 years we’ve estimated that he coached 2,000 boys. One of the most touching things when he passed away was arriving for the funeral to find 500 people there. It was out of this world.

"Dad was born in Fulham. He met my mum in Putney and that’s where I grew up. He became a rugby coach when I was in the under 12's at Richmond and carried a set of players all the way through to the first team there. He also coached for Willesden Park and Middlesex before landing back in Chiswick. 

When Dad got ill, me and my younger brother decided to start playing for Chiswick again just to spend more time with him. So there’s a strong affiliation with the Chiswick Club.

My mum was a nurse so she was always aware of Trinity. It’s become a big part of my life.

Dad was initially diagnosed with lung cancer, which ultimately spread to his brain. They said the chemo would make him lose his hair, but he didn’t which he was quite proud of. When Dad first came to Trinity he didn’t like it, but he soon realised it’s not such a bad place. Everyone was just fantastic and it made it a lot easier. Two days before he passed away he was still trying to get out of bed - my mum would be off grabbing a coffee and he would say ‘grab this arm, pull me out of bed’ to me and my brothers. He was so courageous.

Like running the London Marathon, cycling 289km in three days from London to Paris wasn't something I would otherwise have done. But with my father passing away… it changes your mind-set in terms of challenging yourself.

Nearly everyone who did the ride was coached by my dad. We set off from Chiswick Rugby Club at a blistering pace at about 6.30am and it took about four hours to get to the ferry. Then it was five hours to Dieppe where we stayed overnight after a few beers which we probably shouldn't have had before a 134km day. 

Riding through the rolling hills, you get to spend time by yourself and I could think about Dad. We wound up at a B&B outside Paris. That was one of the nicest evenings. We all sat around, had pasta and beers and told stories about my dad. I hadn't laughed that hard for ages. It was quite cathartic.

We got in to Paris on Bastille Day, arrived at the iconic Parc de Princes Stadium and got changed into our standard chinos and club tie before heading out. Before you know it it’s 2 o’clock in the morning and we’re having a great night in Paris and a good cheers to my Dad.”

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