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Charity Trek
Tuesday 20th October 2015 @ 11:16 by Mark Phillip
Denton & Audenshaw Sports

A group of Denton West Cricket Club Stalwarts are currently celebrating after taking their total fundraising efforts to £50,000.

Having begun their charitable endeavours in 2007, the merry band of travellers have undertaken numerous activities in order to raise money for Cancer research UK, including fancy dress walks, 10k runs and walking on fire.

Denton West Walkers

However, their latest and arguably hardest challenge took place at the end of August, which comprised a seven day walk from Lords cricket ground, London, to their Windsor Park home in Dane Bank.

The mastermind behind the daring challenge – Phil Jackson – was a little apprehensive about tackling such a feat, but the hearty fundraiser managed to assemble a seven man team after thorough consultation with many experienced walkers.

Across a seven day period, the walkers – which included Phil, Chris Mulroy, John Barnett, Phil Healey, Andy Grindle and Ken Jones – clocked up an impressive 192 miles.

The self-appointed navigator, minibus driver and most importantly, DJ and motivational figure, Simon Lowndes, accompanied the troops throughout their journey.

Simon detailed the reasons for completing the feat. He told Reporter Sport: “Over the years we have all lost friends, family or colleagues to this curse on our lives, and we just agreed between us that we would support them.

“After a couple of years of handing over around £5000, a few of us were invited along to the Cancer Research Centre next to The Christie to see the money in action.

“We also met the scientists and saw the labs where the research was being done, where every bit of kit bears the name of the people who donated it or raised the funds for it.

“Seeing this work in action and speaking to the dedicated team of employees and volunteers cannot fail to inspire anyone to support them and it certainly motivated us to press on with yet more challenges.”

Having made the journey to London in the fun bus on Saturday 29th August, the magnificent six+1 – as Simon dubbed them – were able to share their common love of music along the way. He explained: “A huge part of what we are, as stalwarts, is around doing things together with a common love of cricket, our club and shared interests.

Denton West Walkers 2

“Music is one of these which is why a minibus event is so popular, and we can crank the volume up to ten in-between stops.”

Despite a delayed arrival at 7pm due to the Manchester City v Watford match, the fundraisers were upbeat about the week that lay ahead.

The following morning marked the first leg of the tour, and equipped with a moral boost, courtesy of Phil’s brother and sister Niall and Tori, the walkers commenced their journey up north.

However, a brief stint in London wouldn’t be complete without a tour of some of the City’s finest attractions. Simon said: “I had liaised with the ECB and our former professional Bruce Cruse who works down there and he set up a tour of Lords for us.

“We went in the long room and the home dressing room, saw the ashes urn and a painting of England legend – our former player and club president – Brian Statham, who started playing cricket at our club in 1947.

“The next highlight was Abbey Road zebra crossing which was just round the corner; Andy is a Beatles and Lennon fanatic so they had 10,000 pictures taken, moving all the Japanese tourists out of the way.”

From there on out it was full steam ahead, and the walkers were continuously buoyed by sporadic periods of financial generosity.

“Just as day one was coming to an end In the small village of Redbourne, a car drove up behind the walkers and gave them a real boost by asking what was going on and gave them £20; 100 yards further up the road a lady did the same and threw in £10” Simon said.

Such was the popularity of the fundraiser that cricket legends such as Michael Vaughan and Jonathon Agnew addressed the feat during their Test Match Special on BBC Radio five live.

The walker’s efforts certainly didn’t go unappreciated, with free meals, bountiful donations and a live interview on BBC Radio Manchester all improving willpower.

Despite completing the trek with four people on board, the contingent reunited with their injuried parties and crossed the finish line to a hero’s response. Simon added: “The only downer for us was having already lost Ken Jones to a knee injury, we had that day lost John Barnett who had succumbed to the worst blisters you could possibly imagine after an incredible effort.

“Our base commander Lisa Melling had organised food and we knew there were plans in the pipeline for our return.

“We give huge thanks to Lisa and her family and close friends who did so much on the day and raised even more with their chilli, curry and glorious pea and ham soup.”

The stalwarts are hopeful of collecting their personal sponsorships before Christmas.

A big cheque presentation will be made to Cancer Research UK at their Christmas draw in December.
Donations are still welcome, and this can be done online at www.justgiving.com/DWCCstalwarts2015 or by texting DWCC87 £5 to 70070.