96 sports grounds in 96 hours – former soldiers team up for Easter charity challenge

With temperatures expected to soar, taking to the road for a trip away is something most people will be looking forward to the Easter weekend.

By Sam Cooper
Saturday, 20 April, 2019, 11:53

But for one group of former soldiers there won't be much time to enjoy the sunshine as they aim to take in 96 sports grounds in 96 hours.

Chris Nicholson, who was diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer last year, will be joined by his former comrades Chris Nicholson, Tom Hardie, Bear Randell-Eyre, Gary Sedgwick and Neil Wold for the trip this weekend.

A group of former soldiers set off on their charity challenge to go around 96 sports grounds in 96 hours. Pictured are Chris Nicholson, Tom Hardie, Bear Randell-Eyre, Gary Allen and Neil Wold leaving Bramall Lane.

They will set off on their challenge from Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane on Thursday before taking in 94 sports grounds around the country and expect to arrive back in the Steel City at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium on Easter Monday at around 10am.

Chris, 43, of Gleadless, said: “Last April, I got diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer. I was only young, I was only 42 years old and had two young kids.

“As we are now I have had two major operations, had most of my liver taken out and eight bouts of chemotherapy and, hopefully, in three weeks I find out if I’ve got the all clear.

Tom Hardie, Chris Nicholson, Bear Randell-Eyre and Gary Allen pictured at Twickenham.

“Some time last year, while feeling down, I came up with the idea of doing a charity event. I knew people had done 92 football grounds in 92 hours but I wanted to do something a bit more.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“One of the lads is a Glasgow Rangers fan so we are going up to Glasgow and will visit their and Celtic’s ground as well as Wembley and Twickenham.

“We were going past them so it would be a shame not to go to them.”

Chris Nicholson, pictured at Hillsborough.

Chris, who served 16 years as a Royal Mechanical Engineer, said the group were hoping to raise around £3,000 which will be split between Weston Park Cancer Charity and Bowel Cancer UK.

He said both charities had offered him ‘amazing support' and added: “I was very fortunate with my diagnosis because if they didn’t catch it when they did I wouldn’t be here now.”

The group will split the driving of the six-berth motorhome between them and sleeping on the road.

He said: “We are really looking forward to it. We had three or four different rewrites with it being Good Friday and Easter Monday because there is so much football.”

For more information or to donate to the group’s appeal visit www.96in96.co.uk