U's launch fans on Cole walk
Oxford United are proud to have been involved today as a group of Stevenage fans set off to walk more than 60 miles over three days in a bid to raise £10,000 in memory of former United player Mitchell Cole.
The team of eleven set off from the Kassam Stadium for Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium for their club’s first home game of the new season – against Oldham on Saturday. They are wearing shirts from each of the 11 clubs that Mitchell played for along with his squad number.
Mitchell, who died aged 27 from cardiomyopathy at the end of last year, ended his career with the U's before retiring from professional football in 2011 because of his heart condition.
Walk co-organiser Lucy Cox, a 31-year-old housewife and mum of two (aged 2 and three months) from Potton in Bedfordshire said: “We are taking on this epic challenge to fundraise and raise awareness of cardiomyopathy which sadly claimed Mitchell’s life last year.
“I myself have a heart condition and a young family like Mitchell so I found his story even more personal to me.”
After Mitchell retired he became an ambassador for the Cardiomyopathy Association, a charity that provides information and support to affected families. In that role he helped the charity raise awareness of cardiomyopathy and the work of the charity.
United captain Jake Wright was joined by two more of Mitchell's former teammates, Alfie Potter and James Constable, to wish the group well as they set off on the walk which is expected to take around 18 hours, spread over three days and sleeping in tents at night. The route will take them around Aylesbury on the first day and through Luton on the second. They are hoping to collect donations on route.
"We have a big game on Saturday at Portsmouth but sometimes you have to remember what is really important in life. Mitchell was a good player and a good friend to many of us and we hope the walk goes well and raises plenty of money for a great cause."
To help the team reach their fundraising target, go to www.justgiving.com/teams/MarchforMitch
For more information about cardiomyopathy, see the Cardiomyopathy Association website at www.cardiomyopathy.org or call the helpline on 0800 0181 024