Sponsored trek between football grounds raises thousands for Sheffield autism charity

The money raised will fund specialist gym equipment for people with autism
The money raised will fund specialist gym equipment for people with autism

A sponsored walk between four of South Yorkshire's biggest football grounds has raised thousands of pounds to help people with autism.

A dozen supporters of the charity Autism Plus trekked 21 miles from Rotherham United's New York Stadium to Chesterfield's Proact Stadium, calling at Hillsborough and Bramall Lane along the way.

Walkers outside Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground

Walkers outside Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground

Tuesday's Football 4 Autism hike was held to mark the 30th anniversary of the charity, which has offices in Sheffield and Doncaster, and to raise funds for specialist gym equipment for people with the disability.

Andy Girdham, community fundraiser for the charity, said: "I'm aching in places I didn't know existed but it's well worth it. I'd like to thank everyone who joined the walk, and the football clubs and businesses who supported us.

"This money will make a big difference to people with autism, who need our support more than ever following government cuts."

Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United and Chesterfield have each donated signed football shirts for the charity to auction, and Westfield Health, Tesco, B&Q and Sheffield's Frog & Parrot pub have also contributed to the cause.

The total has yet to be counted but Andy said he hoped to raise between £6,000 and £8,000 for the autism friendly gym at Concord Sports Centre in Shiregreen.

April is Autism Awareness Month. More than 55,000 Sheffielders are estimated to have the developmental condition, which affects people's ability to interact with others.

The sponsored walk is part of Autism Plus' 'Challenge 30' mission to raise £1,000 for every year of the charity's existence.

To donate, text FOOTO4 followed by the amount you wish to give, to 700 70.

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