A MANAGER at the helm of a successful Sunday league football team in Waterlooville will soon cycle nearly 500 miles to raise cash for two good causes.
Tony Wilkins will join a trio of pals from AFC Prospect Farm Rangers in biking from Havant to Dortmund, in Germany, next year.
The sponsored journey has been organised to fundraisefor the Grassroots Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society – the latter of which has a branch in Havant.
The former, based in Farnham, Surrey, spearheads overseas development schemes and is working to pave the way for Park Community School (PCS) pupils, in Leigh Park, to support communities in Tanzania with a visit soon.
Even though he has always played football to stay fit, warehouse manager Mr Wilkins, 55 from West Leigh, concedes that the task ahead has taken some preparation.
‘It only occurred to us once we had decided to do this that three of us don’t even have a pushbike,’ he said.
‘Needless to say we’ve all got one now, and we go out at least a couple of times each week to cycle between 30 to 35 miles of an evening.’
Embarking from PCS in on August 23, Mr Wilkins, Tom Cross, 24,Jon Crowley, 33 and Ryan Tout, 23, will cycle to Dover to catch a ferry to Dunkirk, before travelling through Belgium and The Netherlands, then completing the leg to Dortmund.
Their finish line there will be the Westfalenstadion – the home of football team Borrusia Dortmund – which AFC Prospect Farm Rangers take inspiration from for their kit and crest.
Mr Wilkins, who helped establish PCS-based Prospect Farm Rangers in 2016, said he is ‘really excited’ to get going.
He said: ‘What’s so good about this is that the whole team is getting behind the effort, it’s not just about us four blokes on bikes.
‘Lots of our families have been affected by Alzheimer’s – we’ve seen a presentation on how good the work of Grass Roots is – and we’ve raised almost £2,000 for the charities over the past year through a presentation night, friendlies and a tournament. Here’s to hoping we can raise £1,000 more with this.’
The riders have benefited from free gym memberships and £250 in donations from Jetts 24 Hour Fitness in Portsmouth.
If you would like to sponsor them ahead of their journey, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jon-crowley-3