The Five Grounds Walk

Duration: 2:54 minutes
Accession No: TWCMS : 2009.169
This story has been viewed 6931 times

Neil talks about a fundraising event in 2007 to help and highlight motor neurone disease

By Neil Appleyard

Other information

Neil's story was inspired by the temporary exhibition '100 Years of Pools: Hartlepool United Centenary', which was on display at Hartlepool Art Gallery between 25.4.2009 and 31.5.2009

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Video transcript

Hartlepool United supporters went on a seven day walk from Hartlepool to Brentford to raise funds for an adapted minibus. The following year, in 2007, we organised a walk to all the football league clubs in the North East.

We were very lucky as we had Jeff Winter and Dave Eason from TFM radio also taking part in the event. It was decided that we should raise money for Motor Neurone Disease in memory of close friends and true Hartlepool United Supporters.

The event started at 8am on Monday 23rd April 2007. Within a few minutes the local papers' photographers were there taking pictures. Our route took us through Greatham, Cowper Bewley and Haveston Hill. We showed what experienced walkers we were, instead of eating nuts, raisins and chocolate and nutritious things, we actually went to the local butchers and had a pie and coke for our dinner instead.

We got to the Riverside Stadium via the Transporter Bridge. We were met by Sky Sports News and Tyne Tees News cameras. We had a superb tour of the club, it was a fabulous reception and the people were wonderful.

On our way to Darlington we called into TFM Radio station and had a number of interviews. Walking through Darlington was a strange experience, especially wearing shirts with Hartlepool United on them. A few smart alecs had a tongue lashing for trying to take the mickey, not a sensible thing to do with tired Hartlepool supporters. Darlington Football Club made us very welcome. They opened the bar and gave us free drinks. John Sotwick, the former Chief Executive, even gave £100 for our fundraising.

Getting back home was hard as I could hardly walk back to my house from where I got dropped off at the bus. The next day, April the 24th, we met and set off north to Sunderland. It was really nice walking through the collieries and seeing the wonderful countryside. Again our lunch was good healthy walking food, a burger and chips. Getting to the Stadium of Light was an interesting experience for my cousin Helen who is a big Newcastle United supporter. I had to stop her from wearing her football shirt through the city. She had a bit of a funny turn when we had a photograph taken in front of the ground and at the Bob Stokoe statue.

After our photographs were taken by the Sunderland Echo we set off for our final part of the journey. We went across the Tyne over the Millenium Bridge and our journey ended at 4 o'clock in the Strawberry pub outside St James' Park. We arranged to meet people  at 5 for a photo shoot and tour of the ground. As we were doing this we had our photograph taken with the former Newcastle United captain Scott Parker. When our tour was complete we went into Shearer's Bar to continue our celebrations. It was a fantastic experience and we raised over £1,000 for motor neurone charity.  

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