Airmen’s Sunderland-to-Sunderland tour of 92 football grounds

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Airmen undertook a whistle-stop tour of the country’s football grounds in a bid to score for charity.

Starting and finishing at the Stadium of Light, the five service personnel visited 92 clubs in under 92 hours to raise funds for injured military.

Football fans Steve Hoole, Nigel Owen, Jamie Cumming, Steven Foley and Nick Hanny, visited all Premier League and League grounds in England and Wales for their 92 in 92 challenge.

The men, who are based at RAF Leeming in 5 Squadron, have so far managed to raise just £2,000 from the feat, which will be donated to the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA), as well as Help for Heroes.

Flight Sergeant Hoole, a flight operations manager who lives in Durham, said: “It was very tiring, especially around London. We timed it right so that we would hit London at midnight so it only took us 10-15 minutes to get between the grounds, quickly grabbing some sleep between them.

“We did them all so quickly that there’s some I can’t even remember being at. Some of the grounds were great with us, at Chelsea they let us go in the dressing rooms even thought it was 3am. And Reading let us have a kickabout on the pitch.

“SAFC have been great too and gave us a signed shirt.”

The plan is to continue to get as much football memorabilia as possible to auction off at a black tie dinner at a future date to raise more funds.

Flt Sgt Hoole added: “Myself and Nigel are Sunderland fans and we live in Durham, which is why we decided to start and end the event at the Stadium of Light.”

The five airmen took on the challenge in a car provided by Vauxhall, who also paid for the petrol after hearing about their efforts.

RAFA is a registered charity that provides welfare support to RAF personnel and their families. Whether it’s an injured airman fighting to get back on his feet, a young child missing their parent who is away on overseas operations, or a Second World War veteran needing a shoulder to lean on, RAFA is there to help all generations of RAF Service personnel and their families.

FS Hoole added: “All of us have been moved by the real challenges faced by injured serviceman and women and the difficulties faced by personnel after they leave the service.

“Although our challenge pales into insignificance when compared to some people’s real life struggles, we have been moved to try to give something back to support as many people as we can as they struggle back from their own setbacks.”

l To learn more about donating follow the challenge on Twitter @92in92org.

WALKERS: From left, Steve Hoole, Nigel Owen, Steven Foley and Jamie Cumming all serve in the RAF and will being aiming to visit all premier league and League grounds in England and Wales.

WALKERS: From left, Steve Hoole, Nigel Owen, Steven Foley and Jamie Cumming all serve in the RAF and will being aiming to visit all premier league and League grounds in England and Wales.