Skip to main content

Two friends venture on an football charity challenge in support of people affected by multiple sclerosis

Hugh Van de L'isle1.jpgMy wife’s grandmother, Marina Lamnisos lived with multiple sclerosis (MS) for many years before she sadly passed away in 2019. After the funeral, I decided that I wanted to raise money to help others affected by the condition and ensure they get the care they need. 


I set my sights on a charity walk, but one with a difference. I recruited some friends who are all Reading FC fans and it was then that we decided, back in August 2019, that we would walk from the fulltime whistle of one match to the kick-off of a game the following Tuesday. We picked Reading’s home game against Stoke on the 14 March and their away game against Derby on the 17 March.


The walk from Reading to Derby would be roughly 120 miles in total. Initially, there were three of us who were going to complete the walk. However, one of our trios showed symptoms of illness and decided it was best not to partake. Furthermore given the current climate, unfortunately, both of the football games were cancelled. While this did dampen our spirits slightly going into the Saturday, we powered on as myself and my walking partner, Craig knew we were both raising money for good reasons.


We stayed overnight in hotels in Wallingford, Banbury and Nuneaton to complete the walk. On the first day, we walked the Thames path with the last three miles completed at dusk. Parts of the path had slightly flooded given the recent weather, which meant we got to the hotel a bit damp after six hours of walking.


The following days we left our hotels at 08:30am and arrived at the following location after dark. On route, we traipsed through some of the stunning English countryside particularly between Oxford and Banbury.


Hugh Van de L'isle2.jpgWhen we arrived after day three at our hotel and an advert came on for CR-UK (the charity that Craig was raising money for)* and it really hit home to us exactly why we were raising money and motivated us to complete the last leg of the journey. One particular highlight for us was on day four we stopped in a pub in Hinckley for breakfast where we were treated very kindly. The staff gave Craig an ice bucket for his feet as they could see he was struggling and a man came over to chat to us and decided after listening to our story to donate to our charities. We were extremely grateful for this act of kindness. We arrived in Derby at roughly 5pm on Tuesday 17 March, it was a shame that there was no football to watch but we were relieved to have completed the Challenge for a worthy cause!


At the time of writing, we have raised an incredible £1,506 with gift aid for our causes. We hope this money can make a real difference. Our charity page is still open until June for donations so if you’d like to donate or hear more about why we did this walk please click the link below

If you've been inspired by Hugh's story and would like to create your own challenge to raise money for MS-UK, contact Lucy who will be happy to support you every step of the way. Email today!