To get the ball rolling, we decided to enlist the help of one Tony Scholes. Tony thought that it was an excellent idea, and we decided to launch the ‘Walk Up For Burnley’ campaign in the last week of January.
The walk would take place on the weekend of the Ipswich game (21st Feb), over two days, beginning on the Friday at 8am! The route would take us approx. 45 miles, and would take in the scenery of the Trough of Bowland and the Nick of Pendle.
The campaign was launched, and we were delighted with the positive response, with the postman developing a hernia through delivering so many cheques.
At the next meeting of the Central Lancs Clarets, we explained the plan, were offered help during the walk, and in the collection of sponsorship money.
With three weeks to go, Paul undertook a self-imposed drinking ban in an effort to get at least close to fitness.
On the Saturday of the Gillingham game, we visited the Bridge Inn and the Foundation Bar where Ben made a rallying cry for people to part with the change in their pockets, raising nearly £400 that day. We both started to realise just how much the club means to people.
In the lead up to the walk, ‘training’ was going well, with visits to the health food centre known as McDonalds. Paul was (by and large) sticking to his drinking ban, but Ben still insisted that there were valuable nutrients in pints of Carlsberg.
The dreaded Friday morning came all too soon. Having packed the night before, we were all ready to go when the knock of our support team was heard downstairs on the front door of Nelson Mandela House. So we were off on time at 8am!
The first few miles involved an ascent out of Lancaster, passing the Ashton Memorial, and out into the rolling countryside. Braced for a battle with Arctic conditions, the morning turned out to be quite pleasant, with Paul at some stages displaying his Burnley shirt, despite the chill.
By 1:30 we reached Dunsop Bridge, where we ate lunch and Paul seemed to annoy a passing motorist (but that’s another story). We arrived in Waddington before sunset, tired but in high spirits as we ‘checked in’ to the B&B run by Cruella De Ville!
A hearty breakfast at 6:15 in the morning woke us up to the task ahead on Day Two. We left Waddington, and arrived in the bustling metropolis of Clitheroe by 8.
The next village on our route was Sabden, but to get there we had to climb the infamous Nick of Pendle, and many cars struggle to get up there!
An odd mix of shouting, abuse and encouragement at each other managed to get us to the top, where we were greeted with the sight of Padiham Heights (an even steeper hill!). We took our time getting up our last big hill, boosted by honks of passing Clarets and the comments of a JCB driver!
We arrived at Gawthorpe Hall, where fellow walkers from the message board greeted us. Continuing on to Burnley we heard a familiar, if loud, voice – that of Jeff Brown offering us his vocal support on the final stages.
The Bridge Inn had never looked more inviting! After changing out of the dirtiest clothes in Lancashire, it was time for a couple of swift pints with several Bridge regulars, and our arriving families.
At 2 we completed the walk to the Turf, and were met outside by Dave Edmundson and Barry Kilby, who offered their congratulations on completion of the hike. Passer-by and Burnley legend Frank Casper stopped for a quick chat, before we headed into the Foundation Bar to an ovation, where Ben announced the conclusion of the walk.
At half time, a trip around the famous Turf Moor pitch was scheduled, which was not expected, let alone the reception we received from both the home and away fans. It was amazing.
Now the walk has been completed, and nearly all pledges collected, we are thrilled with the fact that over £1500 has been raised to help the cause.
A special thanks goes to; Tony Scholes for his help with the P.R. work and the Fawcett family for their help and support.
A HUGE thanks to all those who have sponsored us over the past month. The walk would have been pointless without your generous support.
Up the Clarets
Ben Golby and Paul Warburton
[You can still sponsort Ben and Paul, just click HERE for full details.]