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Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ fans remember Danny Ayres with donations




The partner of Newmarket speedway star Danny Ayres has thanked fans across the country for raising more than £11,000 in his memory.

Mildenhall Fen Tigers’ fan Ashley Willis set up a fundraising web page in the wake of the former club captain’s sudden death in February to help support his partner Jodie Pledge and his two young daughters – Lilou and Anaiya.

Around 500 donations were made raising £11,556.49 which is now with the Speedway Riders’ Benevolent Fund to be distributed to Danny’s family.

Danny Ayres was set to race for Ipswich Witches in the 2020 season (33635835)
Danny Ayres was set to race for Ipswich Witches in the 2020 season (33635835)

“It is an unreal amount and it will be a massive help to me and the girls,”said Jodie. “A big thank you goes out to Ashley Willisand we will invite him and his family as our guest to Danny’s Day which was supposed to be on June 7 but has now had to be put back. Paul Ackroyd from the Ben Fund has also been a godsend to me and the girls.

“For people to do this, not knowing how secure their jobs will be at the moment, for me and the girls is unbelievable and it just goes to show how much Danny was loved.”

Starting the ride…. Danny Ayres partner, daughter and father, Jodie Pledge, Anaiya Ayres 15 months and David Ayres (33635838)
Starting the ride…. Danny Ayres partner, daughter and father, Jodie Pledge, Anaiya Ayres 15 months and David Ayres (33635838)

Though more than two months have passed since her partner’s death, Jodie said she had found his absence harder to deal with in recent weeks.

“When I was organising the funeral it was like I was on autopilot but I’ve just got to try stay positive and keep the ball rolling,” said Jodie. “On Monday I was going through his phone as I wanted to get some pictures done and I saw his list of goals in how he wanted to make his family and mum proud and that got to me but it reminded me of that immense belief he had in himself. It has definitely got harder the longer it has gone on as it starts sinking in he is not coming back.”

With Danny fighting mental health issues for a number of years, Jodie has started working with Fuel Your Mind, a group established to provide mental health support to speedway riders past and present, as well as with taking the first steps to becoming a life coach. “Through Fuel Your Mind together with Thrive Mental Wellbeing, an
app has been created where riders
and ex-riders can take a confidential survey to assess if they are depressed or suffering with anxiety,” said
Jodie.

“Brothers In Arms, which is a men’s mental health charity, has kindly donated 500 licences of the app which will be a massive help. I know Danny’s death was a negative but this is a massive positive from it.

“It will massively help me in my life with the girls moving forward without Danny and also, with what I have planned, it will help speedway riders and ex-riders in the future.”


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