On a landmark day for the March, Jeff and his fellow walkers sailed past the £200k fundraising mark. So it was just as well they had a brass band in tow to help them celebrate, as well as another huge array of local residents and well-known faces to spur them on from Rotherham to Chesterfield via Sheffield.
From: Rotherham To: Chesterfield
Distance walked: 23 miles Total marchers: 30+
8am After confessing to falling asleep in the bath last night, Jeff was bright-eyed and all smiles at Rotherham United's New York stadium. Doubtless the watery snooze helped, but his spirits were obviously boosted by the appearance of his friend and former darts world champion, Dennis 'The Menace' Priestley, who talked to the press about his own brush with prostate cancer. Jeff's favourite Hartlepool United player of all time, Bob Newton, also joined us with the day's route taking us into his hometown by journey's end.
8:25am Jeff and Dennis led us out and along the bucolic Sheffield Keadby canal, where instead of birdsong, the sound of bugle, tuba and drum could be heard striking up a fan favourite every few minutes. Yes! It was the Men United Band, led by erstwhile Prostate Cancer UK supporter John Hemmingham, who were taking time out of their busy Sheffield Wednesday and England Supporters Band duties to join us for the day. We were chanting and fiesta-ing every step of the way.
11:20am We had our first spot of rain in the whole of the March so far – but only briefly. (Who said it's grim up North?) When we arrived at the steps of Hillsborough Stadium, there was a special announcement from Prostate Cancer UK's CEO, Angela Culhane. Our JustGiving page had just turned over £200k! It was one of those rare moments where it would've been really great if a big brass band suddenly broke into a fanfare...
12:30pm We made the four-mile journey to the Owls' local archrivals, Sheffield United, and Bramall Lane was jumping with the great and the good (you decide who's which). Blades legend Tony Currie and MPs Nick Clegg, David Blunkett and Clive Betts were all there to greet us. As was champion boxer Kell Brook, who was about to go into a nearby press conference for his welterweight fight at the weekend with Kevin Bizier. He was scarily in the zone and looked like he wanted to punch anyone he made eye contact with. Poor Bizier.
2:30pm Jeff gave another breathless radio interview to FiveLive while we climbed the infamous surrounding hills of Sheffield. At one point, Jeff declared a stretch of pavement to be "like Mount Kilimanjaro". The cityfolk's legs must truly be made of steel, as local rumour would suggest.
3pm Good fortune was shining upon Jeff today! Not only had the rain not returned but he found £40 lying in the road. Straight into the collection bucket it went – kerching!
3:30pm Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins joined us for the last four miles into Chesterfield and presented Jeff with his own vintage Blades shirt and football. Perhaps a long-distance dribble across the UK next year, Jeff?
5:15pm As we get nearer to Chesterfield FC's Proact Stadium, we were joined by their club mascot, Chester The Field Mouse, and the air was filled with chants from the public. But it wasn't our Jeff they were hollering, but their local-boy-done-good, Bob Newton. Jeff was happy to know his place in Bob's backyard and we all enjoyed some top-notch hospitality from Chesterfield FC's Community Trust at the end of a landmark day for the March. Here's to hitting £300k over the Easter weekend!
Overheard on the hoof: "You're on enemy territory here, mate." (Jeff to staunch Wednesday fan David Blunkett MP at Bramall Lane.)
Celebs spotted: Dennis Priestley, Kell Brook, Tony Currie, Kieran Lee, Kieran Westwood, Bob Newton, Nick Clegg MP, David Blunkett MP, Clive Betts MP.
Marcher of the day: Lucy Brown. “Thank you, Jeff, for raising such an incredible amount of money and getting the message out there to more young men. Because – like my dad – prostate cancer can affect them, too.”
Please donate to Jeff's gargantuan fundraising effort and help us smash our £300k target.