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Extra miles: couple walk to away games for non-league club

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

How far would you go to raise funds for your football club? Ken Gaunt tells us about the lengths one couple are going to…

Fancy a long walk along a canal footpath in the middle of the night to raise funds for your favourite non-league club?

If you said no, you would probably be in good company. But that is just what husband and wife team Colin and Toni Charlton are up to on April 1.

The determined duo plan to walk 50k (32 miles) from Hartley Wintney to Chertsey -where their team are playing – starting at 2am and taking in a route that runs alongside the Basingstoke Canal.

Already they have been pledged over £2,300, which will go towards funding improvements at the Combined Counties League club’s Memorial Playing Fields ground.

Colin, 47, is treasurer of the ambitious Step 5 Hampshire village side having been associated with them for over 30 years as a player and official.

A telecomms planner by day, he enjoys his football and putting his best foot forward with Toni, having climbed Kilimanjaro no less.

“My wife and I love walking, “ he said. “It makes a nice change from sitting behind a desk most of the day.

“We are experienced in walking long distances, like the Thames Path, and will be prepared for this challenge. We will be using head torches, especially along the canal, so we should be okay.

“What we cannot bank on is the weather but it is important to stay positive. That is the key when you are walking a long way. A lot of people have been very supportive and we do not want to let them down.”

Colin and Toni are hoping to reach Chertsey around 2pm and in time for kick-off. His only worry? “Hopefully someone will give us a lift back home,” he chuckled.

The route will take them from Hartley Wintney to Winchfield, where they live, before they join the Basingstoke Canal path to its end at West Byfleet. Then they will walk alongside the River Wey and into Chertsey.

Thanks to Chris Turner for the image used in this blog. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe