Popular sports lecturer Kev Graves who sadly died after oesophageal cancer in November last year will have his memory live on.
His name is now emblazoned on the front of a Norfolk Green bus with close family and friends turning out in force when the vehicle made a special visit to the College of West Anglia where he taught.
Among them were his widow Mandy, his two sons, Michael (13) and Luke (11) and having travelled down from Hull Kev’s younger brother Gary Graves, his daughter Millie and Kev’s dad Les Graves.
The bus will now travel from King’s Lynn, through Kev’s home village of Snettisham and along to Hunstanton, a route Kev cycled regularly.
The association with Norfolk Green has been through Anthony Batchelor who is a close family friend and a former employee of Norfolk Green who contacted Ben Colson (managing director for Norfolk Green) requesting the naming of one of the buses to honour Kev.
As sponsors on the Inspiration in Sport Award that Kev received in January, Ben was already aware of Kev and the #doitforkev campaign and was keen to be on board.
Mandy said: “Myself, the boys and Kev’s family are obviously thrilled to have Kev honoured and remembered in this way. “
He had been a champion charity fundraiser when alive and his family and friends has kept the sprit going even after his death.
All the family’s fundraising efforts are on the campaign website www.doitforkev.com.
Kev’s fundraising was in the form of the Alp D Huez cycle climb he completed during his illness. He raised £3,000 completing the challenge, which saw him tackle one of the most iconic tour de France mountain stages only days after completing a gruelling course of chemotherapy.
The most recent fundraising in his name was from two college employees Charlotte Barber and Gavin Reynolds who ran the Norwich half-marathon and raised more than £250 for the #doitforkev campaign.
The campaign raises money for the chemotherapy room at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn and trials for better treatment of oesophageal Cancer through Cancer Research UK.
Since its inception in January the campaign has raised almost £10,000. The main aim is to raise awareness of oesophageal cancer and promote a better understanding of the symptoms.
This cancer is the sixth biggest cancer killer in the UK. It has incredibly high mortality rates due to the lack of early diagnosis which is a direct consequence of poor awareness.
Mandy explained: “We encourage anyone that has prolonged indigestion (three weeks or more) or difficulty swallowing food to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
“Raising awareness will be the main focus of the campaign next year and there are plans for an oesophageal cancer awareness day to coincide with the GEAR run which saw more than 100 runners supporting the campaign last year.
Tommy Goode, who runs the college’s sports campus at Lynnsport, recalls: “Kevin Graves was a truly remarkable man. Kev was in the military for a number of years serving his country around the world.
“He completed a degree in sport science and then became a marine biologist before moving to CWA as a sports lecturer back in August 2007, where he quickly became course director.
“He achieved standards for the programme which saw student success rates among the best in the country and was the first coach for the new ‘Rugby Academy’.
“Kevin was an inspiration to both students and colleagues and has affectionately been nicknamed The Machine. Kevin was a fitness fanatic regularly cycling and taking part in triathlons.”
Over the years Kevin raised thousands of pounds for a number of charities, even working with students to cycle 260 miles in one day.
“Kev will be remembered as ‘The Machine’ someone with great character, tenacity, determination, a great role model and a true inspiration to others. His legacy will live on with our fundraising efforts under the twitter trend #doitforkev used by students.”
Tommy added: “Kevin Graves who passed on November 13, 2012, was an extraordinary guy with tons of spirit and motivation who will be missed but not forgotten.”