A picture of Graeme (center) with his Grandfather and brother at a Walsall FC game in 2001.
I’ve been asked to write a guest blog post about my up and coming Walsall to Wembley fundraising walk, which is in aid of Walsall Society for the Blind (WSB). Let’s start with some bluntness – I have no idea how I came up with this idea and I regret it all! I’m an avid Walsall FC fan and as a team we were one of just four teams to have never played at Wembley, there are 92 league teams in total. This was until January, when over the space of two games we won the opportunity to play in the Johnston’s Paint Trophy at Wembley!
Cue lots of jubilation, pride and happiness! But it also made me think about my granddad, Ronald. He was a legend of a man. Deaf since birth and blind since his teens, but in his late 80s he still had a social life to match Kim Kardashian. Nothing got in his way. He too was an avid Walsall FC fan, supporting them for 83 years and was desperate to see them (you know what I mean!) at Wembley, but he never got that chance as he passed away in 2005. I thought to myself, I need to do something big to honour him, and I thought about fundraising for a charity that supported him, and into my head popped WSB. A lovely local charity that relies on donations and excellent volunteers. So my mind was made up! I know it will mean a lot to WSB and I knew it would mean even more to him.
Considering I am more of a ‘body of a Buddha’ as opposed to a ‘body is a temple’ type of man, so I decided I am going to walk the 140 miles from Walsall to Wembley from 14th-22nd March. I have since become familiar with map reading, treating blisters and finding out what’s the best way to hold in a pee whilst walking (FYI – it’s singing Bon Jovi). Currently I’m walking around 7 miles at least 4 times per week. This will be upped to 12-16 miles and in the last week I will do a few 25 mile walks, then tapper back down to rest my body in preparation. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was very scared, but hey! My Granddad fought adversity his whole life, WSB fight it by surviving, so in comparison I can surely do a bit of a tootle can’t I?
We are also turning my story into a documentary with the assistance of the award winning production team, Indictus Films. Owned by Rob Hardman (Coronation St, The Chase) & David Gyasi (Interstellar, Cloud Atlas) as they’re both friends, and they know the inspirational story of my grandfather (in life and football). On top of that is the story of the small town football club that have finally made it to Wembley, plus the fat guy trying to walk 140 miles. Lots of layers for them! We hope it can get a little bit of love and shed some light on the cause.
That’s me in a nutshell, if you have enjoyed reading this please do follow my blog about it all. It includes my training, details about the actual walk, more background about my grandfather, and more importantly a direct link to leaving a donation (pretty please). You can also sponsor me by clicking here.
Thank you for the taking the time. It is appreciated.
If you feel as inspired by Graeme's fundraising as we have, then you can sponsor him here.