Veteran footballers planning 24-hour cancer charity relay run – and they’ve all got a huge personal reason for taking part

A group of veteran footballers are planning a 24-hour charity relay run with all cash raised going to benefit those battling cancer.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 2:34 pm
The AFC Portchester veterans who will be taking part in a 24-hour charity run in May for Friends Fighting Cancer (from left) Dan Mortimer, Mike Counsell, Simon Hore, Keith McIntyre, Phil Jeynes, Pete Sanderson, Keith Ashton.
The AFC Portchester veterans who will be taking part in a 24-hour charity run in May for Friends Fighting Cancer (from left) Dan Mortimer, Mike Counsell, Simon Hore, Keith McIntyre, Phil Jeynes, Pete Sanderson, Keith Ashton.

Last year, two AFC Portchester vets - Pete Sanderson and Keith Ashton - staged a charity 12-hour run. Now, having enlisted the help of five of their team-mates, they have doubled the amount of time they will be running for.

At least one member of the seven will be running continuously, starting from AFC Portchester FC at 10am on Saturday May 14 until 10am the following morning.

The group are aiming to raise £5,000 for local charity Friends Fighting Cancer, which helps individuals and families who have been affected by cancer.

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Harry St Ledger, from Portchester, has an inoperable brain tumour. Here he is pictured with Spiderman. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

To personalise the charity run, each of the seven will run in a t-shirt bearing the name of a particular loved one on the back as personal motivation.

The seven are:

Phil Jeynes, 43, vice president of AFC Portchester. Running in memory of the Royals’ former chairman Steve ‘Woodsy’ Woods who passed away last year.

Mike Counsell, 37, is running in memory of family friend Sandra Fenwick.

Keith Ashton, 42, club captain and midfielder. He is running for his uncle Martin who passed away last October.

Pete Sanderson, 37, is running for 11-year-old Harry St Ledger, a Portchester based youngster who continues to bravely battle a very rare form of brain cancer.

Simon Hore, 37, is taking part in memory of his dad, John, who passed away last year from bowel cancer.

Dan Mortimer, 41, is taking part in memory of his son Ethan, who was sadly too small to survive when his mother went into labour at just 19 weeks.

Keith McIntyre, 42, is running for George Hope who has been battling cancer for several years.

‘Last year myself and Keith ran for 12 hours continuously, we each run 54 miles - the equivalent of two marathons - and raised £4,000 for charity,’ Sanderson told The News.

‘This year we wanted to do something bigger and better.

‘Myself and Keith are hoping to run 60 miles each this time, and hopefully we’ll spur the others on.’

Sanderson is certainly no stranger to charity runs.

In the summer of 2020 he ran the marathon distance by completing laps of the road he lives in, raising over £2,000 for AFC Portchester’s youth football teams.

Since then, he has also taken part in two challenges for the Portchester Food Pantry, which was started up shortly after the first national lockdown. Those runs raised over £2,500.

‘I just enjoy physical challenges,’ said Sanderson, ‘and it’s nice to combine it with something that does some good.’