BLACK Cats fans are being urged to join a march to the Stadium of Light in support of a national anti-violence campaign.
Thousands of people are expected to take part in a national relay between all 92 football league grounds, including the home of Sunderland AFC, to help raise awareness of the drive by Always A Chance, which tackles the social causes of violent crime in the UK.
The 92 Football Club Relay will be staged between February and April and will cover 2,200 miles across England and Wales.
Individuals and organisations can run, cycle, skateboard, rollerblade, swim or use any non-motorised means to complete one leg of the relay, which will include a 12-mile route from Newcastle to Sunderland on April 4 and a 19-mile trek from the city to Hartlepool the following day.
The event will see Always A Chance promoting its message for the first time on a national scale and it hopes to raise £200,000 during the 12-week fund-raiser through half-time presentations and bucket collections en-route.
The shortest leg will be the half-mile between the Nottingham Forest and Notts County grounds, with the longest being the final 117-mile stretch from Manchester United’s Old Trafford back to Sixfields stadium in Northampton.
The charity was set up in memory of 24-year-old James Kouzaris and 25-year-old James Cooper who were shot dead while on holiday in Florida in April.
Mr Kouzaris, of Northampton, and Mr Cooper, of Hampton Lucy, near Warwick, were on holiday together with Mr Cooper’s parents in the upmarket island city of Longboat Key, about 12 miles from the crime scene.
Paul Davies, chief executive of the charity, said: “It is going really well so far. We’ve had quite a few people sign up already, but we’re always looking for more and we’re hoping quite a few Sunderland fans will join us for the North East leg of the relay.”
Mr Davies said the charity is aimed at creating a society where young people are given the necessary skills, confidence and incentives to flourish and ultimately turn their back on violence.
“It funds projects that work with young people aged 16 to 25 who are outside of full-time education and employment,” he said.
“The charity also provides support for victims of violent crime and organises steering groups within secondary schools to provide 13 to 18-year-olds with the opportunity to have their voice heard.”
To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.92clubrelay.org.uk