Thomas is taking part in his fifth Tour de France charity expedition (Image: Birmingham Mail)

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Football's headline names on the recent honours list were Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson.

Worthy recipients, they are, but no-one was more deserving of his or her MBE than Geoff Thomas.

In fact, how it took so long for his astonishing fund-raising efforts to be recognised is a mystery.

Today, Thomas has begun his fifth Tour de France charity expedition, riding the 21-stage, 3,384-kilometre course a week in advance of the race proper.

He is hoping to raise another £1million for Cure Leukaemia. Since he was diagnosed with blood cancer 18 years ago and defied a grim prognosis to go into remission two years later, Thomas has been tireless in his work in support of greater research, testing and development of treatments.

Geoff Thomas has raised millions for blood cancer research and treatment

It is impossible to put a figure on how much his initiatives have raised but it would run well into eight figures.

But when you speak to Thomas, who won nine caps for England and played over 200 times for Crystal Palace, he is not just about generating donations, he is – and has been for a decade and a half – emotionally and mentally invested in the fight against blood cancers. For life.

It is remarkable dedication.

This will be Geoff’s final Tour de France … or so he says. My money is on him being back for more next year .

With his charity, he deserves all the support you can possibly give him.

To help raise £1m by making a donation, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Geoff-GT-15