Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Football Ground Challenge

Exhausted from travelling 2,500 miles in just 89 hours while visiting 93 football grounds across the country, four football crazy friends were enjoying a well-earned rest today having raised a mammoth £3,500 for charity. Their exhilarating trip saw them visit all the English Premier League and Football League grounds, as well as an extra unplanned trip to Wembley, in a record four days.

The challenge kicked off on Thursday at 6am, when Steve Thorpe, Sam Downing, Jack Thorpe and Mark Downing made their way to their first stop at Colchester United in an attempt to visit 92 grounds in 92 hours.

Their journey took them to some of football's most famous stadiums, including Anfield, home of Liverpool, and Manchester United's Old Trafford.
Along the way, the team also met football legend Sir Geoff Hurst, who is best remembered for his years with West Ham and as the only player to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup final. The trip finished at 11.30pm on Sunday when the group arrived at Posh's ground in London Road ground.

They also collected football memorabilia including signed footballs, a football shirt from Chelsea and an Arsenal pendant, which they plan to auction off to boost the funds raised for the Free Kicks Foundation.

The Peterborough-based charity takes children who have an illness, disability, or who are deserving in another way, on a day out involving their favourite football team.

Steve Thorpe said: "The trip was absolutely brilliant but extremely exhausting. We only got about six hours sleep over four days.

"We were delighted to finish well under time in just 89 and a half hours, and even got to go to Wembley, which was a real treat. But what made the trip was knowing that we raised more than £3,500 – and there is still money coming in.

"The highlight of the trip was definitely meeting Sir Geoff Hurst at Chester City, he just happened to be there so we got our pictures taken with him and told him all about the trip.

"We also got to go inside a few of the grounds, including Hull and Middlesbrough, and take pictures, which was good.

"When we got to Bristol Rovers on Saturday we watched the Posh game and had our pictures taken on the pitch with some of the players.

"Throughout the trip we also collected signed balls and other football memorabilia, which we will be auctioning off at a later date to raise more money.

"This money means we can provide days out for at least 10 children in Peterborough and across the country.

"I don't think we will ever do it again, it was very tiring."

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