Posted: Mon 30th May 2022

Gary Speed: Leeds United fans 92-mile charity walk from Deeside to Elland Road raises over £50,000 for mental health

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, May 30th, 2022

A group of more than 100 Leeds United supporters who set off from Deeside last week on an epic 92-mile charity walk to Elland Road in honour of Gary Speed have raised over £50,000.

The fans set off from the Gary Speed Park in Aston, close to Gary’s childhood home on Thursday morning.

Over the next three days, the group passed through Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Warrington, Altrincham, Manchester, Oldham before crossing the border into West Yorkshire.

They finally arrived at the home of Leeds United, Elland Road on Sunday afternoon where the club opened up the Gary Speed suite to ‘feed and water’ the exhausted walkers.

Leeds United defender Liam Cooper thanked the group for their massive fundraising effort, he said: “Well done to everybody involved in the 92-mile Square Ball walk.”

“What an unbelievable achievement, the money raised will go a very long way.”

“I’m just so proud of you all, I can’t really imagine the mental and physical pain you have been through but you got there in the end.”

“I’m sure Gary would be up there, very proud and you’ve done his memory very well today, so thank you very much.”

Ahead of the walk, the organiser of the fundraiser, Michael Normanton said: “Even 10 years later, Gary’s passing is something we all struggle to come to terms with, so when the 10th anniversary came around in November, we decided it was an occasion we shouldn’t leave unmarked.”

“The end of this season seems a perfect time to celebrate his life as it coincides with the 30 year anniversary of the title win Gary contributed so much to. Whether in his usual midfield role, filling in at left-back or upfront in place of Lee Chapman, Gary was brilliant at all of it.”

“He was talented, handsome and loved by thousands. If mental health can be an issue for someone as brilliant as that then it’s an issue for all of us.”

Gary’s mum, Carol, was asked for her thoughts on the great gesture. She said: “It’s amazing that, after 11 years, people are still paying their respects, it’s good to know just how much Gary meant to people. It just goes to show that he will never be forgotten.”

It’s been a decade since Gary’s tragic death, as a youngster he played for Aston Park Rangers, Flintshire schoolboys and attended Hawarden High School.

Gary began his career with Leeds United as a trainee when he left school in June 1988 and went on to make over 300 appearances for the Yorkshire side.

The walk is a joint fundraiser with money going to both men’s mental health charity Andy’s Man Club and The Samaritans.

You can make a donation here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/gary-speed-charity-walk-andys-man-club

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