On the 25th of May (my 34th Birthday), one of my oldest and closest friends, James (Jim) Fletcher, passed away. 2 years ago he contracted colitis, but seemed to have recovered and dealt with it fairly well. On the day of the 33 boroughs ride, we called in to see him, as he lived about 100 yards from the route. He was suffering a bit of a relapse, but when I spoke to him 2 days later he said he’d been to see the consultant, and was being taken care of. Sadly, things didn’t get much better for a couple of weeks, and he was re-admitted to hospital, where a scan revealed he had a blood clot in his bowel. They operated, and ended up removing most of his bowel. He was placed in intensive care, where he suffered kidney failure, contracted septicaemia, and at one point even his heart stopped. After fighting very hard for 2 and a half weeks he finally passed away. Having known him 23 years, and been very close to him for 19 of those I feel the loss terribly, and my deepest sympathies are with his family and his many other friends. If you haven’t done so already, please donate some money to Crohns and Colitis, via my JustGiving page, in the hope that in time, diseases like this will become better understood and treatments will be found.