Distance For Darbs walkers complete 65-mile trek for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation

Staff members from Bolton Wanderers, Bradford City and each club's community arms completed an arduous 65-mile trek from Bradford to Liverpool via Bolton over the weekend to raise funds for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation.

The 12-strong group set out from Bradford City's Valley Parade home on Friday morning and from there, hiked west across the Pennines towards Rochdale, ending their first day of walking at the Crown Oil Arena having completed 26 miles of their journey.

On Saturday, with the elements somewhat against them with downpours all day long, they trekked a further 17 miles through Bury, with that leg of the journey culminating at the University of Bolton Stadium.

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And on their final day of the challenge, they fought their way through sodden conditions once again to add the final 22 miles to their tally and end their fundraising challenge at Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC.

The Distance For Darbs challenge initially began earlier this year when staff members at Bolton and Bradford were inspired by the positivity shown by former defender Stephen Darby following his diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease.

The 30-year-old has since turned his hand to creating his own charity alongside Chris Rimmer who is also battling the disease, with the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation set to be officially launched in the near future.

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A man who has left his mark on each and every club he has graced, such was his impact that the staff members he worked with at each team wanted to show their support with an exciting fundraising challenge.

Coming up with the idea of walking the distance between each of Stephen's clubs, the wheels were put into motion and the event itself took place over the weekend of July 26-28.

At the time of writing, the group have raised over £6,000 - a total that is still rising with the generosity of the general public.

Speaking about the walk itself, Luke Gallagher - Media & Communications Officer at Bolton Wanderers and Bolton Wanderers Community Trust - said: "Walking 65 miles in three days was one of the toughest challenges that any of us have ever faced, but it was incredibly rewarding.

"When we reached Anfield, knowing that we'd achieved our goal and raised over £6,000 was an unbelievable feeling.

"The weather was against us for much of it, but we didn't let it dampen our spirits and the group stuck together and pulled each other along when the going got tough. 

"It was a real test of our bodies, but we all kept going, with the thought of supporting Stephen [Darby], Chris Rimmer and others with Motor Neurone Disease always at the forefront of our minds.

"It feels amazing knowing that the money we have raised will go some way to helping all of them and it is a weekend we will never forget."

Donations are still being accepted, with those who wish to contribute asked to visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/distance-for-darbs-fundraiser.

Distance For Darbs walkers would also like to thank the following organisations for their support:

  • Napoleons Casino, Bradford
  • Smith Butler Accountants
  • Simply Digital Print
  • Bradford City Disability Football Club
  • McDonald's Forster Square, Bradford
  • Tesco Middlebrook, Horwich
  • Bolton Arena
  • Nana Jan's Takeaway, Chorley
  • Harrogate Spring Water
  • The Idle Draper
  • Bradford City Football Club
  • Bradford City Community Foundation
  • Bolton Wanderers Football Club
  • Bolton Wanderers Community Trust
  • Rochdale AFC
  • Liverpool FC
  • Liverpool Football Club Foundation

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Walkers: Luke Gallagher (BWFC); Katherine Byrne (BWFC); Jack Barnes (BWCT); Zoe Clair (BWFC); Bethany Pilkington (BWFC); Rebekah Borwick (BWFC); Andrew Foster (BWCT); Joe Bray (Bradford City Community Foundation); Thomas Davidson (BCAFC); Debbie Davies (BWCT); Ralph Rogers (BCAFC) and Thomas Gadd (BCAFC).

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