Di­a­monds for Flower Man Trea­sure hun­ters in­spired by Mark’s talk

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Janet HUGHES [email protected]­plc.com

CHEL­TENHAM’S ‘Flower Man’ Mark Mor­ris said he wants to spend the short time he has left with his two sons in heart­break­ing speech to launch this year’s Beards Diamond Rush

Mark came straight from a fam­ily hol­i­day in Turkey to launch the char­ity trea­sure hunt which will help raise money to help peo­ple like him who have been di­ag­nosed with the crip­pling Mo­tor Neu­rone Dis­ease.

Stand­ing with ex-wife Re­becca Gill, and chil­dren Al­fie, aged eight, and Jay, aged 18, by his side, the well-known fig­ure broke down as he said all he wanted to do was spend time the time he had left with his fam­ily.

“All I want to do is spend time with these two,” he two he said of his sons.

“They are the most im­por­tant things in my life. Al­ways have been and al­ways will be.”

Break­ing down in tears he urged around 1,000 peo­ple who turned out to see the launch to tell their fam­i­lies how much they loved them and put some ef­fort into their re­la­tion­ships “be­fore time runs out”.

And af­ter­wards, clearly ex­hausted from his speech, the 49-year-old told

how he and his sons had drawn up bucket list of memories to cre­ate be­fore he dies.

“Jay un­der­stands but I think it’s more dif­fi­cult for Al­fie to take in be­cause he’s that bit younger,” he said. “His grand­fa­ther died four or five years ago so I tell him that I’m go­ing to see his grand­dad.

“I’ve been quite lucky to have had my own busi­ness so I have trav­elled a lot in my life and done things like bungee jump­ing, but be­ing with them is so much more im­por­tant than any of that.

“We do have a bucket list but for me it’s all about spend­ing time with the boys and mak­ing sure they are OK.”

The Flower Man is best known for his stall in the Prom­e­nade in Chel­tenham which he has had for the past 14 years and says the sup­port he has had from the town since news of his ill­ness broke has been “un­be­liev­able”.

Chel­tenham Town man­ager Michael Duff also at­tended the Diamond Rush paid trib­ute to Mark say­ing he had done the flow­ers for his wed­ding and many fam­ily mem­bers since.

He said he was par­tic­u­lary shocked by the di­ag­no­sis be­cause Mark is the type of per­son who was in the gym a lot.

Beards’ man­ag­ing direc­tor Alex Rose said: “When I heard about his sit­u­a­tion it just pulled at my heart­strings.

“This was the only pos­i­tive thing I could do. At first I was think­ing of rais­ing money for Mark and his fam­ily but he asked us to do it for the MND As­so­ci­a­tion.

“It’s lovely to see how many peo­ple have come out to­day to sup­port him.”

The rush saw nine di­a­monds worth £1,000 were hid­den across the town and sur­round­ing area, for peo­ple to find in a lux­u­ri­ous trea­sure hunt.

First win­ners home Rachel and Emma Tim­brell with Sophie Cud­worth from Beards

Pic­tures: Si­mon Pizzey

The Flower Man Mark Mor­ris and his fam­ily, ex-wife Re­becca Gill, Al­fie Mor­ris and Jay Mor­ris

First in the queue were Courtney Gough, Zoe Parkes and Char­lotte Fletcher

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