Since captivating the country at Aintree 35 years ago, Bob Champion has been busy raising millions of pounds for his cancer charity, and this weekend the former jockey was delighted to collect the latest donation just down the road from Cheltenham Racecourse.
Bovis Homes, which has its Western regional office a short canter away in Bishop's Cleeve, made the donation and was pleased to welcome Bob to its new development 'Furlong Rise' to hand over the money on the day it launched a new show home there.
The Bob Champion Cancer Trust was established after the jockey won the Grand National on his horse Aldaniti in 1981. Two years earlier, Bob had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and given just a 35% chance of survival. This amazing story of triumph over adversity was made into the film 'Champions' in which John Hurt portrayed the jockey.
Bob, who was the awarded the MBE in 1983, said: "I love coming back to Cheltenham. I loved riding here, and you are indeed about a furlong away from the racecourse here as the crow flies! It looks a wonderful development and when it's finished it's going to be outstanding.
"I'd like to thank Bovis Homes for their donation. After I had cancer and then won the National, people sent their winnings to the Royal Marsden Hospital where I was treated and from that we decided to set up the Trust. We thought it would last a couple of years and we're still going!"
The trust was established in 1983 and has so far raised over £14 million. The charity funds the Bob Champion Research Laboratory which forms part of the largest research facility dedicated to male cancer in Europe, and a research team at the Bob Champion Research and Education Building at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.
"We still need donations because research costs an awful lot of money but we are getting there and there are some major breakthroughs in the pipeline," added Bob.
Sup Ray, Western Managing Director at Bovis Homes, said: "We are delighted to donate £500 to The Bob Champion Cancer Trust and are thrilled to have had the opportunity to find out more about the Trust from the man himself.
"His tale about overcoming cancer to win the Grand National is legendary, but what he has achieved with the Bob Champion Cancer Trust is equally amazing, if not more so!"