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92 club with a difference

14 September 2012

Paul's charity walk to all league grounds

Inspirational Paul Hodgkinson visited Boundary Park today on his solo charity walk to all 92 League clubs.

The 45-year-old from Wakefield is aiming to raise £20,000 for the Royal National Institute for the Blind and research into leukemia and lymphoma.

The 22-week 2,450 mile journey began at Tranmere Rovers on April 30th and will finish at Anfield on Monday.

Boundary Park was Paul's 85th club and he met the players for this photograph on the pitch.

Paul was forced to give up his work as an industrial electrician two-and-a-half years ago when he learned he was going blind.

And he decided to undertake the walk as a thank you to the RNIB who he says have helped him come to terms that he is losing his vision and given him a focus for the future.

He said: "The RNIB and myself came up with this idea as we believe nobody has ever walked to all 92 League grounds.

"Others have done it in cars and on bicycles, but never on foot."

Apart from raising funds for the RNIB, Paul wants also to donate half the proceeds to leukemia and lymphoma research. He is a Liverpool fan and their Aussie goalkeeper Brad Jones recently lost his five-year-old son to the disease.

Paul, who is blind in one eye and losing the vision in the other, described the journey as a rollercoaster of emotions.

He said: "There have been highs but other moments when I have hit rock bottom.

"I have met the likes of Sean O'Driscoll, Gordon Cowans, Geoff Thomas, Peter Ridsdale and Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings who gave me £1,000 on behalf of his club.

"But there have been lows when I damaged ligaments in my left ankle, tore the meniscus in my right knee, the cartilage in my right knee popped out and a car drove over my foot breaking my toe on a narrow country lane near Torquay."

As a result of these injuries and mishaps, the duration of the trip has been extended from 121 days to 154, though the end is now in sight.

Anybody wishing to learn more about the walk or to make a donation can do so by the following:
twitter: @walkingunited   

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