CYCLISTS who toured round the country’s football grounds have raised £10,000 in memory of Marine Richard Hollington.
The team of three teachers from South Downs college clocked up a total of 600 miles over two weeks in honour of former pupil Mne Hollington, who died after he was injured in an explosion in Afghanistan.
The trio set off from Accrington Stanley football club on Merseyside and travelled around 60 miles a day to clubs across the country.
They sold shirts signed by players at the clubs they visited in Asda stores to raise money for the cause.
Their travels saw them visit the homes of Burton Albion, Wolves, Hereford United Swindon, Millwall, Aldershot, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Havant and Waterlooville and Fareham Town.
They finished the expedition at Portsmouth’s Guild hall steps where they were greeted by the city’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Cheryl Buggy, along with family and friends.
Michael Murtagh, a sport and public services lecturer who taught Richard, was one of those who took part in the two-week challenge.
He arranged the trip after Richard’s death last year, writing to football clubs across the country to gain their support.
The 27-year-old said: ‘The experience was better than I ever imagined. The clubs were so supportive and believed in what we were doing. This whole event was for Richard, who I want to say a massive thank-you to because he was a fantastic student.
‘When I found out he lost his life last year, I decided I wanted to do something eye-catching for him.
‘It was tough going at times, especially with the hills.
‘But we kept focused on who we were doing it for.’
Duncan Shepherd, 48, a photography lecturer at, said: ‘We wanted to do something big and special in honour of Richard.
‘He loved football so that’s why we thought of the idea to visit different clubs.
‘It was manic and we had a few broken wheels and punctures, but we took care of it and kept going.’
Andy Chalmers, 48, a learning support worker at the college, said: ‘It was a brilliant experience.
‘We all prepared really well for the challenge and now we’re going to enjoy a massage and some sleep!’
Cllr Buggy, said: ‘We should be thankful for people like these who have supported such a worthwhile cause. They wanted to honour the life of someone they really cared for.’
Mne Hollington, from Stroud, near Petersfield, was on patrol in the Sangin district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, when he was fatally injured in June last year. His family have since raised over £100,000 for Help for Heroes in his name.
Fundraising events included a non-stop 103-mile trek completed by Richard’s 50-year-old father, Robin, and colleagues through the South Downs Way in May.
With supporters, Richard’s mother Jen then retraced her husband’s steps over five days.