A force for good

23rd February 2019

The force is certainly with our RideLondon-Surrey 100 cyclist Ian Yates, who is taking on the challenge for the second year running this August

R2-D2 replica in memory of Joanna Yates

For Ian is also a member of the UK R2-D2 Builders Club, a group of over 5,000 people who build, display, repair and rebuild the R series droids, made famous by the Star Wars series of films.

As you’ll all know, R2-D2 is the fictional robot character in the franchise who has appeared in nine out of the ten Star Wars films to date.

Ian, and fellow members of the club, have been busy raising thousands of pounds towards our work and recently were delighted to hand over a cheque for £2,396.

Lost to meningitis

The club is supporting us after Ian and his wife Wendy lost their daughter Joanna to meningitis in 2017, aged just 16.

Wendy told us, "Joanna was 16 years old and full of life. She was a sweet, kind, creative and intelligent young lady. She was in Year 11 at school and was studying hard for her GCSE exams, and had received a place at the college of her choice to study Art, History and Accounting."

"Joanna's love in life was music, art and dance. She would spend her spare time drawing and listening to music, and from being a young girl she attended a dance class every Saturday. Her musical tastes were varied; she loved the film La La Land, as well as heavy metal. Joanna was also a gifted musician; she played the viola and sang in a youth choir."

You can read Joanna’s full story here; a Forever Fund in her name has raised over £22,000 to date – see www.joanna-yates.muchloved.com.

In memory of Joanna

Ian built the wonderful robot in memory of Joanna. The orange stripe is dedicated to us and the robot has been renamed R2-JY in memory of his daughter. It took centre stage at the club’s recent meeting in Camberley, where the cheque was handed over.

Sam Prentice, who is a committee member of the builders’ group, said, “The club decided to raise money for Ian’s chosen charity and I’m pleased to announce we have raised a fair amount."

“We hope to raise even more when we team up with other Star Wars clubs later in March at the MCM Comic Con at the NEC in Birmingham.”

Thank you R2-JY and the UK R2-D2 Builders – and may the force stay with you.

Read more about RideLondon-Surrey 100 and Wendy and Ian’s story.

Many thanks to the Aldershot News & Mail/Reach plc for kindly allowing us to use their photos.

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