Ealing family take on Big Thrive challenge in memory of dad


Martin Ozols and his family, from Ealing, have taken on a charity cycle challenge in memory of his father, Maris, who died during the Prudential RideLondon in 2017.

The family of six including his wife, Kate (42), sons, Oliver (6) and Archie (4) and brother, Ellis (24) cycled to Earls Court from their home in West Ealing with his mum, Nina, driving the support car. This was considered even more of a feat for four -year old Archie as he only just learnt to cycle in lockdown.

The fundraising event was part of Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People’s ‘Big Thrive’ event, which ran over the weekend (25th-26th July) and saw a number of people run, walk or cycle somewhere that makes them thrive – whether that was an area with a wonderful view, a place they feel at peace and relaxed, or just somewhere that they have missed during lockdown.

Dad of two, Martin, 42, said: “Every year I have been undertaking the RideLondon ride with family to remember my father and also stop off at the place where his race came to an end, so it seemed natural to choose this spot as the location to cycle to with the “Thrive” event. The distance itself was relatively manageable but the challenge was in completing the event with our two young children Oliver, 6, and Archie, 4, who found five miles a very long distance. But we had been for few family cycles to the park at weekends previously and when the big day came, they amazed me with how upbeat they were, even despite the rain!

“We were very close to our Dad, the day he died was a huge shock to us, as he had always kept himself in great shape, running, cycling, swimming, yoga and since his death it has inspired me to try and do more to keep fit, as I have my own children. We still visit the location of where it happened, and through Karen (Deacon) have cycled the RideLondon each year since, and always stop to take a moment. It was a shame the main event was cancelled this year however when a contact at QEF mentioned that it was organising something different, we jumped at the chance to be part of it. We are proud to have been able to represent such a worthy charity which does such an amazing job of providing support to so many. It is very sad that charities such as QEF are struggling when they do so much to change the lives of people with disabilities and make the world a better place. “

They have so far raised a brilliant £765 for Surrey based disability charity, QEF, and Martin’s sister, Katya Ozols, 40, and his brother Aleks Ozols, 32, will be undertaking the same cycle next weekend to keep the donations coming in.

All money raised will go towards the charity’s Survive and Thrive Appeal which QEF launched in June after facing an uncertain future due to the impact of Covid-19 on its fundraising and donations. It has so far raised £126,000 towards it’s £500,000 fundraising goal, but still has a way to go to ensure it is able to continue their vital work providing expert services to adults and children with disabilities or acquired brain injuries and make up the anticipated £1million shortfall in funding before the end of September.

In normal times, the charity supports more than 6,000 disabled children and adults every year through expert advice and life-changing services, enabling individuals to develop key life skills, increase mobility, and maximise their independence, so each person can live the life they choose.

QEF Chief Executive, Karen Deacon said: “What a brilliant achievement for Martin and his family, especially the young boys who have done their grandad proud. We are extremely grateful for their support during these tough times and every penny raised will help us get closer to that vital goal of £500,000 to help our expert services survive, so that we can continue to enable disabled people to thrive.”

The charity’s next big fundraising events are the ‘jumping out of lockdown’ skydive in September and ‘Reach the Peak – The Big Climb’ which asks participants to take on the challenge of climbing the height of their chosen mountain, either by climbing their stairs several times or climbing local hills. This will take place during the last two weeks of September and will help the charity reach the peak of its emergency fundraising appeal.

To find out more about these events and support QEF’s Survive and Thrive appeal visit www.qef.org.uk/surviveandthrive or to donate to Martin’s challenge please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ozols-family-funday-cycle