Eight cyclists will ride from Wembley Stadium to Aldershot Town’s Electrical Services Stadium this Saturday, to raise over £2500 for a local deaf awareness charity.
The third annual Chappie’s Challenge – in honour of Shots fan Steve Chapman, who died in 2011 – hopes to buy equipment for the Aldershot-based Chloe and Sophie’s Special Ears Fund. The seven riders, which include Aldershot Town’s Commercial Manager and all-time record goalscorer, Mark Butler, and Chapman’s fiancé Jackie Jones, will leave Wembley at 8.30am and hope to complete the 50 mile route in time for The Shots’ home game against Chester, which kicks-off at 3pm.
Jones, who last year completed the route despite a heavy fall which buckled the front wheel of her bike, explained: “Steve used to raise money for local charities and was a keen cyclist, so we wanted to honour him in this way. He loved Aldershot Town Football Club – they were his religion, and the East Bank, where he always stood, was his church. He always wanted to see The Shots play at Wembley so it seemed appropriate that we use that as the starting point.
“I’m not going to fall off my bike this time – I now know the difference between gears and brakes,” she laughed. “I’ve been doing at least 25 miles on the bike and 20 miles in the gym each week, and this is our third time round, so, from painful experience, we know what to expect.
“Raising money for CSSEF means a lot to me. It will help them to learn and improve their life no end. I see Chloe and Sophie and I know exactly where the money is going. They are wonderful little girls.”
Part of the money raised will go towards purchasing a £1000 Outdoor Soundfield System for sisters Chloe and Sophie Jackson, who live in Aldershot and attend Hale School, to enjoy PE more and compete in school sports events.
Founded in 2010, CSSEF also work to improve the acoustics in classrooms across Hampshire and Surrey, and provide deaf awareness sessions and resources to schools, youth groups and businesses, including radio aids, sound-proofing materials and vibrating watches which help children keep track of daily activities. The Charity also provides financial support and advice to other families with children who experience hearing difficulties.
“It’s a great charity and a great challenge,” continued Butler, who will undertake the ride which passes through Ealing, Kew Gardens, Hounslow, Chertsey, Woking and Ash on its way to Aldershot. “It’s been a painful process but Chappie is a legend at Aldershot Town and I thought that the Club should be involved in the Challenge. I’ve still got about 40 miles of training left to do, so it will definitely be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.
“My colleagues have been superb. I think my legs will be fine, and I’m well aware of the possibility of ‘numb bum’ syndrome, but the results will be well worth a day or two of personal discomfort!”
Donations can be made via https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/chappieschallengers, by visiting www.cssef.org or texting CCCS51 and your donation amount to 70070.
Pictured are six of the participants: (left to right) Paul Johnston Naylor, Jackie Jones, Steve Redfern, Steven Blackley, Mark Butler and Steve Parsons