Former Ayresome Angel Ian Waller set off on 12 June last year to cycle the 1200 miles to Lake Garda in Italy to raise money to support Alzheimer's Society. Setting off from his home in Marton, with his two new kneecaps, the journey took him 19 days via Dover and Paris (at the time of the worst Paris riots), getting photographs on way, with his Boro Back in Europe sign on the back of his bike and posing with Boro scarf at town signposts. In the entire journey he did not have a single puncture.

By Neil Wheldon and Jude

At the back of the North Stand is a long banner with the words Ayresome Angels on it. For those too young to know what Ayresome Angels were I will explain.

In 1966 Ayresome Park held three World Cup games featuring, Russia, Chile, Italy and North Korea, who became fan favourites and got through to the next round. Unfortunately, Boro had been relegated to the 3rd Division for the first time in their history. Despite being near the bottom of the division at Christmas, Boro rose to gain promotion.
Ian, along with Fedgie Myers, formed a group of fans (similar to the Red Faction in the South Stand). The strange outfits they wore were unique and a trifle unorthodox, consisting of a long white doctor’s coat, with player names scrawled on it, a genuine bowler hat (usually bought from Doggie market (North Ormesby), a pair of red and white painted sunglasses and an AA car badge carefully painted red and white, donated by kind AA members.

The Angels travelled to away matches but were not usually involved in violence. Mind you, Ian was once held in a headlock and given a dead leg at Blackpool, yet real violence, like Chinese burns, and being robbed of pies and Sherbert fountains never occurred.
In later years, Ian had his own joinery business, and helped restore the old Ayresome Park wall. He also became the top cat flap fitter in the area and once installed one for Bernie Slaven. Although Bernie did not own a cat it came in very useful for his pinpoint shooting practice. Ian also fitted one for Riverside favourite, Rudy Gestede, to his barn door but he could not hit it.
On his journey through France and Italy young fans would hold up a placard with the message “Can I have your bicycle clips Ian?” One elderly Italian ran alongside him and shouted “Any Jack Palance of you fitting me a cat flap Ian?”

Ian’s reply was Frank and Earnest, he politely replied, “I am a trifle busy at the moment but if you move to Billingham bottoms I will gladly fit you one on my return home.”

After a short rest at Lake Garda Ian decided to have a little ride around the lake. He had often ridden around Hemlington lake but this was a bit bigger and though he covered another hundred miles he failed to spot any shopping trolleys.

Ian was met by four members of his family when arriving in Lake Garda and has now raised £7700 for Alzheimer’s, in memory of his wife Cath, who sadly passed away. Lake Garda was their favourite place.
Ian is now planning a 500 mile ride around Scotland to take the total up to £10,000
Well done buddy.

We are the Ayresome angels and we never miss a match. We will follow the Boro.
Still being sung after 57 years good lads Ian and Fedgie.

You can contribute to Ian’s appeal for the Alzheimer’s Society.

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