Toon trek the ‘goal’ for Woodhouse team

Starting point: Geoff Hall and his team will begin at Newcastle United's St James's Park.
Starting point: Geoff Hall and his team will begin at Newcastle United's St James's Park.

A quintet of Mansfield Woodhouse friends have been tightening rather than loosening belts over Christmas in preparation for walking 150 miles in aid of Help For Heroes.

Geoff Hall, 53, Rene Close, Jamie Bowler and Stuart Wardman, all 40, and Liam Ansty, 27, will hike from Newcastle United FC St James’s Park ground back to their local The Fairways.

Starting out next Tuesday (January 28) they aim to arrive back in north Nottinghamshire next Saturday (1st February) and will cover 30 miles each day.

They hope to raise £6,000 by means of sponsorship and from an evening of entertainment at the Fairways - which is opened to all and will include a bucket collection - on the day of their return.

“It was one night in the pub that I came up with the idea and the great thing was I didn’t even need to ask for people to join me - they volunteered,” said Geoff, a dry liner by trade.

“I’ve always felt that I’ve had a good life and I wanted to put something back in and I thought it would be good to start from Newcastle because that’s who I support and I’m originally from the north-east.

“The response from people has been fantastic. Within a few days of setting up a page online we had about £3,000 in donations and hopefully they’ll keep coming in.

The five walkers will be backed by a support team of Simon Bond and Mark Simpson who are to drive a camper van - where the team will sleep.

The vehicle has been supplied by Bond Insurance Services, who have also been helping out with the fund-raising efforts.

Geoff added: “We’ve been doing a few walks locally to try to build up the stamina, but we’re all good friends so I’m sure we’ll help each other through it.”

You can sponsor the team by going to: