Sheffield United fan almost halfway through mammoth charity cycling challenge

A Sheffield United fan who is raising money for a much-loved city charity by cycling to every Blades’ away game is almost halfway through his mammoth challenge.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 1:23 pm
James Kemp at Brighton.

James Kemp, aged 51, of Apperknowle, has so far cycled around 1,600 miles and ascended more than 60,000 ft, raising almost £3,000 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital in the process.

He will reach the exact half-way point of his challenge on December 29, while riding over the Snake Pass to United’s game against Manchester City, the closest Premier League team to Sheffield.

Speaking from his doctor’s surgery on Monday, where he was being treated for a chesty cough, he said fans up and down the country had been brilliant so far.

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Part of James' journey.

“There is a lot of negativity about football fans but everyone I’ve met has been absolutely superb,” he said.

“I’ve raised nearly £3,000 now which was my initial target so I have now upped it to £5,000.

“Thinking of families in hospital at this time of year makes it really poignant so I’m hoping to raise a lot more over the next few weeks.”

James originally promised he would undertake the feat after watching United lose 4-0 to Gillingham at the start of the 2015-16 season, vowing to ride to every away game if they ever got back to the Premier League.

James Kemp at Norwich.

After the Man City game this week, he will then set off on New Year’s Day for the Liverpool game on January 2, and is also due two more London trips, a ride to Newcastle and a final slog to Southampton next May.

He said the only issue so far has been his health, with a recent four-day trip to the south coast in December being particularly tough.

“I have had a cold for a few weeks and cycling to Brighton hasn’t helped things,” he said.

“I’ve got a really bad cough now but I will battle on.”

James Kemp at Wolves.

The club has promised him a parade round Bramall Lane after his challenge is complete, but he is still hoping for more backing for them on social media, with city rivals Sheffield Wednesday also offering to Tweet out his appeal.

To donate to James’ fundraising effort visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/james-kemp1889.

One of the obstacles in James' way.
James Kemp from Apperknowle who is cycling to every Blades away game to raise money for Sheffield Children's Hospital