Stelling completes unbelievable walking challenge for Prostate Cancer UK
- Credit: Prostate Cancer UK
Inspired by the loss of a close friend and a football hero to prostate cancer, marathon man Jeff Stelling triumphantly completed a fourth epic walking challenge for Prostate Cancer UK in London on Saturday.
The long-serving Sky Sports Soccer Saturday presenter has now racked up 33 walking marathons for the leading men’s health charity after finishing 26.2 miles in the North East, Yorkshire, Merseyside and London this week.
He has raised more than £230,000 this year taking his efforts since 2016 to almost £1.4m, which will fund lifesaving research to improve testing, treatments and care for those affected by the most common cancer in men.
Stelling’s 100-mile week began in the North East on August 30th; he then headed to Yorkshire on the 31st, before marching through Merseyside on September 1st. His route concluded in the capital with a route from Millwall FC to Tottenham Hotspur, visiting Queens Park Rangers and European champions Chelsea along the way.
On his final March for Men, Jeff was joined by over 200 heroic walkers and some famous faces including former Sky Sports colleague Matt Le Tissier and Crystal Palace legend Mark Bright. Also accompanying Jeff was wife, Lauren Clark, and family of cricket hero Bob Willis who died of prostate cancer in 2019.
They joined at QPR and walked to Stamford Bridge. Also, former skipper Gary Mabbutt met Jeff at the finish at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs served as a fitting finale on a day that Stelling paid tribute to club legend Ray Clemence, who sadly died last year after a long battle with prostate cancer. Ray’s son Stephen had walked alongside him on the Merseyside leg with three generations of the family, including Ray’s wife Vee, paying a poignant tribute at Anfield.
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During an epic week of walking Stelling was also joined by football personalities and Sky colleagues past and present, Chris Kamara and Charlie Nicholas joined in Leeds, while presenter and Liverpool fan Colin Murray walked the Merseyside leg and Reds heroes Phil Thompson and Ian Rush were at the start and finish respectively.
Jeff said: “It’s hard to believe we began this journey five years ago at Hartlepool and now we’re here, 33 walking marathons down and with thousands of people, many who have been affected by prostate cancer in some way, marching with me.
“We’ve faced travel problems, getting lost, every type of weather and more blisters than I can count, but the togetherness that everyone on these marches has shown has been truly unbelievable - especially considering the effect the last 18 months has had on us all.
“Covid has had a horrific impact on lives across the UK, but prostate cancer has not gone away. In fact, it’s now more important than ever that we support men and their loved ones.
“One in eight men in the UK will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. Our Dads, partners, brothers, grandads, uncles and friends.
“Prostate Cancer UK’s mantra is ‘Men, we are with you,’ and these marches have summed that up perfectly. I’m so proud to have played a part in the fight against prostate cancer, and I’m eternally grateful to the thousands of walkers, volunteers, staff and celebrities who have been involved over the years.”
Jeff has visited 104 football clubs since departing his beloved Hartlepool United on his first march in 2016 and has visited clubs in all four UK nations. He’s trekked a whopping 864 miles in the process – or 1.8 million steps – and has been joined by more than 1,900 football fans and supporters over the five years.
Among those walkers was Yorkshireman Lloyd Pinder, who joined Jeff on his first ever walk in 2016 and was there to meet him at the finish line at Tottenham Hotspur in 2019, alongside former Tottenham, Liverpool and England goalkeeper Clemence. Both men died last year.
Jeff added: “So much has changed since the end of my last walk in 2019. Two great friends met me on the finish line that day, are both sadly no longer with us, both victims of prostate cancer.
“This highlights once more what an indiscriminate disease this is, and it’s for men like Lloyd and Ray, their families and everyone affected by prostate cancer that we marched again.”
Prostate Cancer UK Chief Executive Angela Culhane, who has walked more than 180 miles alongside Stelling across his previous three March for Men events, and joined him in the North East this year, said: “Since 2016 Jeff has selflessly pushed himself to the absolute limit to aid our quest to make prostate cancer a disease that no longer wrecks lives, and we’re so grateful to Jeff for his incredible support.
“Thanks to Jeff and thousands of others who have embraced these mega marches, we have raised a game-changing sum of money and made massive progress in our goal to fund better research which will ultimately save more lives.
“Lloyd Pinder and Ray Clemence are just two examples of those that have helped greatly in that time. Two men with totally different backgrounds, but one underlying connection, prostate cancer. I remember meeting both at the finish line in September 2019. They were part of the fabric of Prostate Cancer UK, and we were all devastated to lose them both to this disease last year.
“We want to see a world where men’s lives are not limited by prostate cancer and we know men and their loved ones feel the same. Together we can stop men dying, and we thank Jeff and the football community for helping us towards achieving that goal.”