Banger Race Event Honoring Dave Cox and Wife Sandra After Heartbreaking 2020
A big firecracker racing weekend is taking place this month, in tribute to a couple who died nine days apart.
Dave Cox died of cancer on April 1, 2020, and nine days later his wife, Sandra Cox, died suddenly of a broken heart.
They both left behind five children and adult partners, five healthy grandchildren, a father, brother, sister, nieces and nephews and many friends.
Sandra’s sister Lorraine Sturman explained: ‘In the early summer of 2019 Dave went to work normally where he worked at Barnstaple Tesco. He got sick in labor and phoned Sandra to pick him up, and she took him straight to the hospital.
“He was rushed straight to the emergency room where he underwent a blood transfusion, underwent tests and was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which was found to be terminal and life-limiting to just six months at a year at best if he could handle the chemotherapy. They were devastated.
“They broke the news to the children, which was very difficult for them to do. No one needs to hear that they are going to lose a parent; he did not turn 60 until June of that year.
At the start of treatment, Dave fell ill.
“Dave made the decision with Sandra that he didn’t want to continue treatment and that he wanted to be awake and aware and be able to make the most of the time he had left with his family.
“He wanted to see his wife Sandra turn 60 in September; it was also the same day as their wedding anniversary.
“It must have been the hardest decision he ever had to make, a very brave man; how do you wake up every morning knowing that this could be your last day with your loved ones? “We all wanted him to live longer, but we had to respect the decision Dave made.”
One of Dave’s sons, Michael, was an avid banger racer with the South West Banger Racing Club, and Dave was always going to support him.
Dave had always wanted to ride alongside Mike in his car, so they asked those running the club, Terry and Tracy Moule, if it could be arranged.
Lorraine said: “Mike and his friends at Bangers were amazing which made it a very special time for Dave and also for Mike. They dressed him in a fireman’s suit and helmet gloves, boots, safety harness.
“Dave went with Mike for a lap on the track with the other drivers. When they got back into the pits, he didn’t want to come out. He asked Mike if he could drive the car with him, as he had always wanted to see how it felt. Sandra wasn’t so sure.
After the roll, the crowd cheered for the father and son team as Dave, Sandra and Mike stood on top.
“Unbeknownst to Sandra and Dave, Tracy had arranged with some of the driver’s partners to do some voluntary collection for them and created a to-do list for them to enjoy together.
“Everyone was so generous that they handed them the money when they got out of the cars; Sandra and Dave both cried with emotion. They were very humble. They realized, even more, that they were not alone; it was an extended family.
“Mike was so proud to have been able to do this with his dad; he was very emotional. He loved his father so much; I don’t think there was a dry eye in this place.
At 5:45 a.m. on April 1, Dave passed away with Sandra by his side.
Lorraine said: “She was heartbroken. At Dave’s funeral, all tributes were to be written and emailed to the vicar. All tributes had to be emailed to the funeral directors, and only ten people could be present at the funeral, without sitting together and singing.
It was so hard and felt so one-person.
On April 9, Sandra had gone to bed early, saying she wanted to go to bed early and needed time alone.
Lorraine said: ‘Mike drove by later that night, and his television was on upstairs, and he thought I wouldn’t disturb him; wrap that she sleeps.
“Never in a million years did we expect that Mike was about to find the morning of April 10.
“Mike couldn’t get his mum to answer the phone, so he drove there, the doors still locked and the dog barking. He went upstairs and found his beloved mother dead in her bed, resting peacefully.
When Lorraine arrived home, she suddenly realized what had happened, seeing the ambulance outside the house.
“They said it looked like she died of a broken heart, so peaceful, so beautiful,” Lorraine said.
“The light of my life had just gone out. I’m broken without my sister by my side; we were all so shocked, in disbelief, wishing she would wake up.
Lorraine added that telling their 84-year-old father that his eldest daughter had died was one of the hardest things she had ever done.
“Dad had been protected because he had an underlying disease. He was distraught but strong for us, as he always is.
The family then had to hold a double funeral on April 22, with Gaydons managing to arrange a show outside for those who couldn’t be there.
“The banger shopping family together with staff from Tesco where Dave had worked for years helped get the coffins through as they arrived with so many family, friends, neighbours, co-workers”, Lorraine said.
“They all cheered as the two coffins passed in front of them. Then reality kicked in and everything became real.
“Two coffins were taken out of cars and placed on trolleys. This was the worst as the boys wanted to carry their mum and dad inside but were not allowed to do so due to Covid restrictions.
“They were not only deprived of their parents, but also of the right to bury them as they wished.”
She said the family had been overwhelmed with the love and support shown to them.
“Sandra and Dave had touched so many hearts, and they all wanted to show it off, so we asked if we could have a video link, and also if it could be played on speakers in the parking lot, for friends, family and colleagues, who wanted to pay tribute to him, accepted as long as they respected all the government instructions put in place for everyone’s safety.
“Not being able to wake up afterwards because they weren’t allowed was difficult, but seeing everyone at the crematorium was more than enough. We will forever remain humbled. Thank you doesn’t seem like a big enough word for all of you.
“Later that year, Mike and one of his friends Sam Galliford, along with Terry and Tracy Moule from South West Bangers, decided to host a Sandra and Dave tribute get-together and help raise funds. funds for charities Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
“Together they made this event so big it became massive. The support from the drivers for Mike and his family has been phenomenal. Support has come from across the country eager to help sustain this meet .
“They have over 200 cars so far, all different categories, the drivers are amazing and their partners who will be happy when they are all finished in their garages, supporting and watching over each other.
“There are people sponsoring races, donations are coming in, Mike is sponsored by ‘A ‘n H Auto Tech’ also sponsoring him are ‘Gold Coast Window Cleaning’ thank you all so much.
“Some of the firecracker cars had hand written signs of tribute messages, very touching tributes, poems by Mike, Jodie and Mia, one of Sandra and Dave’s grandchildren who is two . She had a very special bond with her grandmother and grandfather; she says good night to the stars in the sky from her nanny and her grandfather every night in her daddy’s arms.
“The children who knew them as nanny Sandy and Dave have created a special tribute image, which they want to display on the doorstep.”
She praised Terry and Tracy, and others, for the time spent making a bigger track and making sure all health and safety measures are in place, including parking, restrooms and refreshments. .
Lorraine added: “They are an incredible couple; nothing is too much to ask of them. They have been so supportive, especially for Mike and the family, accepting this all to happen, giving them so many headaches. Behind the scenes, there is so much red tape and new government guidelines to follow.
“It has been a very difficult meeting for Tracy and Terry to organize, but I hope you will come out and support the great causes, see the cars, sponsor the drivers, donate to charity, enjoy the races, have fun, like there haven’t been many in a while. We can’t wait to see you.”
The event will take place on May 30 and 31 at Mullacott Cross, Ilfracombe, EX24 8PL. The races start at noon. Admission for children and OAPs is £5, adults over 15 £7. Family tickets of two adults, two children £20 and two adults four children £25.
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