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It's the FA cup by any means for football fanatics

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Trio want to use 50 modes of transport in children's hospice fundraiser

THE FA Cup by any means – that’s the challenge that three West Berkshire football fanatics have set themselves to raise funds for Helen and Douglas House.

Hungerford man Cris Bowden, aged 34, his father-in-law Steve Hall, aged 57 from Kintbury, and friend Richard Eldred, from Newbury, will set off for St Mary’s Stadium, the home of Southampton Football Club, on Monday, May 18.

They want to use at least 50 different modes of transport to visit the grounds of all 43 FA Cup-winning teams before they reach their final club – Wanderers FC, on Saturday, May 23.

They will begin the first leg of the challenge in a pick-up truck donated by Tadley firm Mendem Motors, with other modes of transport to include a 30ft yacht, donated by Newbury Yacht Club, and a 1950s coach from Ages Past, Fleet.

Last year, Mr Bowden and Mr Hall, along with friends Marc Harris and Andy Price, raised £6,702 for Oxford-based hospice Helen and Douglas House by travelling to all 92 football league clubs in 92 hours.

Helen and Douglas House provides respite and end-of-life care for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions,

Inspiration for the challenges came from Mr Hall’s former neighbour, six-year-old Ellie, who was born with congenital toxoplasmosis, a life-limiting illness.

Mr Bowden said: “At just two weeks old, Ellie nearly died in intensive care, and at the same time her parents, Andy and Denise, learned she was severely disabled.

“The staff at Helen and Douglas House have supported Andy and Denise and allowed them to come to terms with what has happened.

“Having visited Helen and Douglas House, we felt that it should become an annual event to help raise funds for on-going works to refurbish the buildings.

“This year we felt that we needed a bit more of a challenge, so we decided to see how easy it was to get people to donate unique transport to us to travel around the country.”

A fundraising evening is also being held at the Hilton Hotel, Newbury, on Friday, June 5, at which former Liverpool FC and England player Alan Kennedy will be guest speaker and comedian Jed Stone will compère.

Tickets cost £45 per person, including a three-course meal, and are available by calling 07795 822 340 or emailing thefacup_byanymeans@yahoo.co.uk

There will also be an auction of sporting memorabilia collected on the journey.

Donations can be made online at www.justgiving.com/TheFA
Cup-ByAnyMeans or by texting CUPS90 and either £2, £5 or £10 to 70070.

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