Friday 12th August 2022
Although Bill Shankly’s famous quote “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I can assure you it is much, much more important than that” has been perhaps taken out of context, it is true to say that for some, football is a passion.
The recent success of England’s Lionesses with their taking a European title – a first for England, whether male or female – has underlined this passion, and it is shown in the enthusiasm of four Royal Air Force engineers from RAF Coningsby who set themselves a unique challenge.
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, will be one of the beneficiaries of the madcap idea to visit all 92 of the 92 Premier League and English Football League stadiums and running around them.
The four – Daniel Holt, Ash Taylor, Kyle MacLeod, and Jake Langley – did the 2,245 miles* if not in style, then in good spirits, sleeping and eating when they could.
Speaking for the group, Ash said: “We decided that due to our obsession with football, that the beautiful game had to play some element in the challenge and also it required to be a challenge that not only had we not seen been before, but also very clearly physically demanding and thus worthy of any donations or shares that we would love to receive.
“So, we came up with 92ClubsNonStop.
“It was a challenge from the very outset from the hours of planning to the mountain of emails to contact each of the 92 clubs. Following these emails, we were absolutely overwhelmed by the responses and support shown to us from the clubs, we knew we had a golden idea and there was no going back from then on.
“Before the event started, we were given pitch access to 15 football league clubs, but we couldn’t logistically get to all these clubs in time due some silly arrival times from the team. We are so grateful to the clubs which contributed to making the event much better and we met some lovely people along the way from the Swindon Town manager (Scott Lindsey) to the Sutton United CEO (Adrian Barry).
“Also along the way, we received lovely messages of support from family and friends to keep us going and more incredibly some donation items for our auction from the sporting giants like Manchester United who donated a signed football and to one the finest family community supporting clubs in the country, Swindon Town, which gave us a signed shirt and football – and these are just a few of the items we have been given. Thank you to the clubs for being so incredibly hospitable and generous to us during our charity event for SSAFA, MIND, and Macmillan Cancer Support.
“We’re overwhelmed by the support shown to us and the amount we have raised for our charities. So, from the bottom of our hearts thank you so much and it made sitting in a car for four days and jumping around on the Tube in London so worth it. We hope the money raised can help lots of people who deserve it.”
The RAF’s fab four have so far raised nearly £1,800 for their three chosen charities, smashing their target by £300, but donations can still be made at gofundme.com/f/92-clubs-non-stop.
For more information, visit ssafa.org.uk