He put his body on the line during his England career, sustaining a punctured lung and a lacerated liver in the process.
But, though long since retired, Rugby World Cup winner Mike Tindall, now 41, will push himself to the limit this weekend, getting on his bike to cover more than 100 miles in a day — with over two miles of hill-climbing thrown in.
Yet, from Tindall’s perspective, it’s a trivial challenge by comparison with the trauma experienced by those, like his father, suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
‘My dad has had Parkinson’s for the past 17 years,’ he tells me.
‘Over the last few years, I’ve really seen him deteriorate.’
Mike Tindall will get on his bike this weekend to take part in the legendary Raid Alpine for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust. From Tindall’s perspective, it’s a trivial challenge by comparison with the trauma experienced by those, like his father (pictured above together), suffering from Parkinson’s disease
This has been especially hard for the former international to bear, since it was his father, once captain of Otley rugby club in Gloucestershire but now weighing barely 8st, who inculcated his love of the game — and who taught him to tackle.
‘It’s about other sons and daughters not having to see their dad go through what I’ve seen mine go through,’ adds Tindall, explaining his role as patron of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and why he began training to take part in the legendary Raid Alpine.
The coronavirus outbreak caused the event’s postponement.
But rather than squander the hard yards, Tindall and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust have switched from the Alps to the UK, devising this Sunday’s ‘Raid Local’.
So Tindall’s been hitting the roads close to the Gloucestershire home where he and his wife Zara and daughters Mia and Lena live on the Gatcombe Estate owned by Zara’s mother, the Princess Royal.
Tindall, though, is no novice on a bike.
Tindall’s been hitting the roads close to the Gloucestershire home where he and his wife Zara (pictured above together) and daughters Mia and Lena live on the Gatcombe Estate
He competed in the Kindrochit Quadrathlon five years ago, running 15 miles over the Highlands, swimming half a mile, kayaking for seven miles and completing a 34-mile bike ride — all in one day.
But perhaps his most vivid memory of his time in the saddle dates from his days doing a paper round as a boy, when he flew over the handlebars and knocked himself unconscious.
‘All I can tell you,’ he assures me, ‘is that when I came to, it hurt!’
Fans willing him on can show their support via www.cureparkinsons.org.uk.
Cressie’s in a scrape but it’s woolly not as bad as it looks
Princes Harry’s ex, Cressida Bonas, shared a picture of herself from the countryside home where she lives with her fiance, Harry Wentworth-Stanley and discovered animals are not always as sweet as they seem. The 31-year old attempts to hold a sheep on her lap — only to get mercilessly scratched
The claws are out for Prince Harry’s ex, Cressida Bonas.
The 31-year-old star of ITV’s White House Farm, who dated Harry for two years before he married Meghan Markle, has discovered that some animals are not always as sweet as they seem.
The daughter of Sixties ‘It girl’ Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon shared a picture of herself from the countryside home where she lives with her fiance, Harry Wentworth-Stanley, as she attempts to hold a sheep on her lap — only to get mercilessly scratched.
‘Peggy Sue and her sharp little toes,’ she wrote.
Bridget Jones star Celia Imrie confesses surprise at being offered the film role of Hugh Bonneville’s mother — since at 67, she is only 11 years his senior.
‘It’s a witty animation called Mummies and I play Hugh’s mother,’ she says, adding she ‘couldn’t agree more’ that she’s too young for the part.
‘Funnily enough, Hugh and I began at the National together years ago, so we have a very good relationship.’
Chef Heston Blumenthal has a problem with hair — in many ways.
He says: ‘I have so much hair I end up looking like the Hair Bear Bunch, so my head’s always shaved.
‘I shave it myself, and more than several times I’ve shaved and halfway through the razor runs out of power and
I can’t find the cable and I’m left looking like some rather bizarre monk.’
Guinnesses toast brand new delivery
Brewing heir Arthur Guinness, 29, has become a father after his fashion designer wife Hannah Weiland, 30, gave birth to their son
With pubs due to reopen next weekend, what better timing for the arrival of a new Guinness?
Brewing heir Arthur Guinness has become a father — his fashion designer wife Hannah Weiland, 30, who founded Kate Moss’s favourite faux fur label, Shrimps, has given birth to their son.
Arthur, 29, who runs a cheese farm in Wiltshire, confirmed the happy news from a hospital in London and proudly introduced the 7lb 7oz baby as ‘our boy Marlowe Paris Guinness’.
He’s best known for gritty roles in TV series such as Happy Valley and McMafia, but screen star James Norton — who is tipped to be the next 007 — is longing to have a laugh.
‘When I was in university, I loved dabbling in comedy.
‘It was never my reason for going into the industry, but I’ve loved performing in the little bits of comedy that I’ve done,’ says the 34-year-old Cambridge graduate.
‘I would love to maybe have a go at comedy. To be honest, I’m up for everything.’
NOTHING LIKE A DANE FOR SIR IAN!
Sir Ian McKellen pictured as Hamlet in 1971
The show must go on! Sir Ian McKellen is to play Hamlet almost 50 years after he first performed the role in 1971.
How 81-year-old Sir Ian will play a teenage Hamlet will certainly tax his legendary skills.
The play will be directed by Sean Mathias, Sir Ian’s ex.
‘I feel lucky to be working again, thanks to [producer] Bill Kenwright’s inspiring optimism,’ says Sir Ian, ‘and Sean’s invitation to re-examine Hamlet, 50 years on from my first go.
‘So now we will meet again. Don’t know when but do know where: Theatre Royal Windsor!’
Actress Geraldine James, who played Queen Mary in the film Downton Abbey, believes she has a natural affinity with the royals owing to her birthplace.
‘At least I was born in the royal county of Berkshire,’ she says.
‘You cannot be born here and not think of the royal heritage surrounding Windsor and other parts of the county.’
Farewell to the face of the Sloane Rangers
In the early Eighties, his was one of the best known faces in the country.
But Roger Bramley, who has died aged 74, was entirely unmoved by his fame – inadvertently achieved because a photo of him appeared on the cover of the Sloane Ranger Handbook, alongside that of the Princess of Wales.
The book, anatomising the ‘Sloane’ upper middle classes, became a bestseller.
‘He was a very nice, old-school stockbroker,’ one of Bramley’s former colleagues tells me.
‘His classic letter to clients was always: “I bought this for you. I hear well of it”.’
He was also a devout Roman Catholic, worshipping at Holy Redeemer Church, Chelsea, within striking distance of Sloane Square.