The family of a keen horseman and farmer who died of a brain tumour aged 42 will be raising money in his name again this year despite the restrictions of Covid.
Adam Forster, who was well known in the hunting fields of the Braes, Haydon and Tynedale in Northumberland, died just 10 months after being diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma multiforme in 2013.
His sister, Kerry Robson, 40, and her three daughters have since raised thousands for Brain Tumour Research, while his father Terry, 70, has organised a Santa-themed bike run at Christmas for the past six years.
While the family thought the annual fundraiser would have to be cancelled this year, Terry and his friends will be able to go ahead with the motorbike ride, in full Father Christmas costume and decked out with fairy lights, while collecting donations online.
“It is something a bit daft and to cheer everyone up and make them smile,” Kerry said. “We thought we’d have to curb all the fundraising activities this year but we realised six or seven of them would be able to go out on their vintage Harleys. They already taken requests for drive-by visits and more than 50 streets are on the list.
“It’s all taking place in Adam’s local area (in County Durham) and we hope it will raise the memories of him again,” Kerry added. “Time goes on and while we never forget, other people get on with their lives, we don’t expect them not to, but it’s nice to do something to keep his memory alive.”
Adam used to hunt twice a week with his part-bred Irish mare Tilly, who Kerry continued to look after until she died last year aged well into her 20s.
“She would cart me from one end of field to other and was frightened of snow and plastic bags but hunting she was the most bombproof mare. Adam used to try and upgrade her every so often and he’d get these nutcases and then always end up coming back to reliable and safe Tilly,” Kerry said.
She added that her brother’s death had hit their father hard and the Biking Santas was one of several unusual pursuits he had taken up to have something to focus on.
The 14-year-old girl was diagnosed with the condition at the age of six
‘She always seems to know when I’m tired and works extra-hard for me’
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
“He comes up with all of these mad ideas, he recently learnt how to stilt-walk and is currently trying to learn the Scottish pipes in three weeks,” she said. “He and Adam worked on the farm together and were best friends. I think Adam would laugh and think it was amazing my dad was coming up with all these things.”
Research into brain tumours receives very little funding and the Brain Tumour Research charity, like many others, has had its fundraising activities affected significantly by the pandemic.
“They have been fantastic and were an amazing support to our family, they helped us out quite a bit,” Kerry said. “We’ve raised quite a bit of money for them and they have regional coordinators who give you a ring to see if you’re ok. It’s a nice charity to support as it’s a research charity and you feel the money is going straight into where it’s needed.
“We need to get some cures sorted out as there’s not a lot of treatment options for brain tumours.”
Donations to the Biking Santas can be made via their fundraising page.
The charity is also hosting a Santa Dash on 12 December, which will take place this year as a virtual event, as well as Wear a Christmas Hat Day on 18 December.
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.