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Pedal for Petrov

An epic 400-mile cycle ride by two Aston Villa club masseurs in support of club captain Stiliyan Petrov has drawn support from across the football community.

Alex Butler and Andy ‘Smudger’ Smith cycled 80 miles a day over five days, starting at the midfielder’s former club Celtic and finishing at Villa Park on Sunday 9th September. So far Pedal for Petrov has raised nearly £60,000 for the blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. A charity ball, held at Villa Park to celebrate the end of the final stage of the ride, was attended by Stan’s teammates past and present, including Gareth Barry, Ashley Young and Emile Heskey.

33-year-old Petrov, who was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in March 2012, has been at the club for six years following his transfer from Celtic in 2006. He has since put his football career on hold for life-saving treatment.

Speaking for the first time since his diagnosis, Stiliyan Petrov said: “Alex and Andy have put themselves through a lot of work and hardship to try to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. They have worked so hard and they want to cheer me up and they want to show me how much they love me. It is great to see something like that and, of course, it is for a great cause as well.

"I've experienced something that a lot of people don't experience and I know how important this research is because it helps with all the drugs which help people to get better and to get better more quickly. I hope the cause will receive as much money as the boys are able to raise so that the people can go to work on the research.”

Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “Alex and Andrew’s incredible efforts on this 400-mile challenge have been inspiring and are so grateful that they are supporting Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s life saving work. The valuable funds they are raising will help us find better treatments and cures for patients with blood cancers including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.”

To support Alex and Andrew in their challenge, donate via their JustGiving page at: or text “STAN91 £3” to 70070.