Crystal Palace fans raise thousands ahead of charity walk to Stamford Bridge

Sutton Guardian: Mark Smith (middle) Mark Smith (middle)

A group of Palace fans are ditching their cars next weekend as they take a hike to Stamford Bridge for charity.

Headed up by fan Mark Smith, who is the club’s academy partner, and Chris Powlson, Palace’s corporate manager, they are raising money for The Royal Marsden.

So far more than £11,000 has been raised for the walk which will see the group head Selhurst Park next Saturday and march to Chelsea’s ground ahead of the Premier League clash between the two sides.

Mr Smith, who has had a season ticket since he was seven years old, said the walk backs up his vision of raising money for charity through his association with the club.

He added that choosing a charity was easy, having raised money for the Royal Marsden before in memory of a former school friend who died from Leukaemia.

The Palace fan said: “When the club announced my Academy sponsorship, I wanted to use my association with the club to help raise funds for charity.

“At the time, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but knew I wanted to do something. The easy part for me was picking the charity.

“When I was 16, whilst a pupil at KCS in Wimbledon, one of our fellow pupils, Dominic King tragically died of leukaemia. It was a shock for the whole school, his older brother was a pupil at the time and there was a feeling of helplessness and sadness throughout the school.

“It was for many of us, our first exposure to human loss. A few of us had the idea of raising money for the Royal Marsden and the following year, we raised £10,000 by holding a 24-hour 5-a-side football match.”

He added: “25 years on and the prospect of doing anything for 24 hours seems beyond me, so instead, Chris Powlson, who heads up the Commercial side of Crystal Palace, had the idea of a walking from Selhurst to Stamford Bridge on Dec 14, the day that we play them.

“We acknowledge this is not the most onerous of physical tasks, but then again, lots of people raise money just by growing facial hair.

“We have raised just over £11,000 so far which is great but hopefully we can raise even more.”

To donate, click here to go to the Just Giving page.


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