96 sports grounds in 96 hours – former soldiers complete Easter charity challenge
As temperatures soared, spending the Easter weekend relaxing in a huge six-berth motorhome sounds like the ideal way to have spent it.
But for one group of former soldiers there wasn’t much time to relax or enjoy the sunshine as they travelled across the country with the aim of visiting 96 sports grounds in 96 hours.
Chris Nicholson, who was diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer last year, was joined by his former comrades Chris Nicholson, Tom Hardie, Bear Randell-Eyre, Gary Sedgwick and Neil Wold for the trip.
They set off on their challenge from Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane on Thursday before taking in 94 sports grounds around the country and finished at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium at around 5.30am on Monday.
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 a few weeks I find out if I’ve got the all clear.
“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."
But in addition to the 92 Football League grounds, the group also took in the homes of Glasgow Rangers and Celtic as well as Wembley and Twickenham.
Chris, who served 16 years as a Royal Mechanical Engineer, said the group had raised around £2,000 of their £3,000 target, with money still to come in.
He said the cash will be split between Weston Park Cancer Charity and Bowel Cancer UK.
Chris 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 split the driving of the six-berth motorhome between them and sleeping on the road.
Chris said: “It was fantastic. We did it in 91-and-a-half hours so we had quite a few hours to spare. We had a Sky News interview so had to go to Burnley for 9.15am on Sunday and we missed two clubs on the way around so we ended up finishing at Burton at around 5.30am on Monday.”
The group also paid a visit to the National Arboretum as part of their trip.
Chris said “We have not been together for around 11 years and it was just like old times working with each other. It was tiring work – we had one driving and one in the passenger seat with the others resting.”
For more information or to donate to the group’s appeal visit www.96in96.co.uk