A group of Chelmsford City supporters are currently raising money for a sponsored walk from Land’s End to Winchester.
The group of 10 Clarets fans are raising money for the City of Chelmsford Mencap, the South Western Ambulance Charity and the Supporters’ Club’s Community Project.
With the hike taking place between 22nd-29th May, the group plans to walk somewhere in the region of 270 miles.
Speaking on the sponsored walk, one of the organisers, Jon Read, said: “The City of Chelmsford Mencap, we did it for them two years ago; it’s such a good, local charity.
“They need a lot of help and they don’t get any funding, so we like to offer them what we can. About February time, we thought it would be wholly appropriate to raise for the NHS, too.
“So, we’ve got the Supporters’ Club, Mencap and the NHS as well because it’s just the right thing to do, really.
“We had £3,100 before lockdown, that came in quite quickly. We’ve had another push in the last few weeks and we’ve got it up to £3,700.
“We’ve got some pledges from other people; we’ve got some money coming in through the Golden Goal thing that Gary Mixture runs. We are also thinking of seeing if we can do a socially-distanced meal at the Empire [Palace] on Springfield Road.
“But there’s a lot of sponsorship that we’ve still got to get and obviously, what we try to do while we do the walk is vlogs of an evening which we stick on the Supporters’ Club Twitter feed.
“We ask for people to give us dares and people tweet in, ‘I’ll give you £20 if you get your photo taken with a vicar holding a Chelmsford City scarf,’ or something like that.
“Two years ago, we had someone dare us that every pub we went into, we had to get a photo with the landlord holding a scarf. So, we managed to do that. A couple of the guys had to do individual dares, like they had to do 10 press-ups at the top of Glastonbury Tor.
“They can offer us anything and we’ll consider it if it’s medically possible!”
During the previous two sponsored walks, the group’s destination coincided with a City game and they had planned to do so again for the upcoming hike.
The initial plan was to begin in March 2020 and arrive in time for the Oxford City away fixture on 4th April, however, due to lockdown restrictions, their plans were halted.
Then, they re-planned to do the trek this year and have the endpoint at the Hungerford Town away fixture which was scheduled for 22nd May.
Following the curtailment of the season, though, the group landed on their current plan to walk from Land’s End to Winchester.
“When the season was knocked on the head again,” Jon explained, “We thought, ‘We have to do the walk. We’ve already raised over £3000. It’s all on JustGiving.’
“We’ve decided to now walk to Winchester instead of Hungerford because basically, it’s prettier; and it’s got amazing pubs!
“It’s still going to be 270-odd miles because we’ll make it that long with the route.
“We leave Chelmsford on Saturday 22nd, we kip in a youth hostel in Land’s End on the Saturday night and we set out on Sunday morning about 7am. Then, we’ll keep walking until we get to Winchester the following Saturday.”
With the starting point deep into Cornwall, Jon explained why that region of the country has special meaning to many of the walkers.
He said: “Basically, we love the West Country because it’s just so pretty and so scenic. There are an amazing amount of trails, the scenery’s stunning and the people are amazing down there.
“We would be walking along with our specific hike t-shirts on during previous walks, people would read them as we were going along and they would give us money.
“We’d go into cafes and they’d buy us breakfasts – then we put the money into the pot. Last time, we probably got an extra couple of hundred quid just from passers-by and well-wishers.
“So, we’ve all got a bit of an affinity for the West Country, it’s just such a special place, they’re all so friendly down there.”
With just less than two months to go until their walk, the City supporters have raised around £3,700 of their £5,000 target for the three organisations which they are supporting.
Speaking on the fundraising, Jon stated: “Two years ago, we raised just under £10,000. I don’t think we’ll get near that this time because of the fact that there are no games to go to, two years ago we did little raffles and meals – which is really difficult to do at the moment.
“So, we’ll just have to see how we go really.
“We’re practising individually, we’re all walking 20 miles every weekend, we’re doing a lot to do this because it’s not going to be a given; it’s quite difficult.
“As a group, we’re walking the best part of 40 miles every day, we do that split, in relay, but people are still walking 20 miles every day for seven days. So, it’s quite hard and it’s quite knackering.
“You certainly need to rehydrate at the end of the evening, if you get my drift!”
If you wish to sponsor the group of Clarets supporters for their hike, visit their JustGiving page to find out further details.