Sheffield Steelers staff on track to meet fundraising target after gruelling 50-mile walk

Former Sheffield Steelers star Mark Thomas has thanked kind-hearted staff at his former club after walking alongside them on a 50-mile trek.

Monday, 25th February 2019, 19:33 pm
Updated Monday, 25th February 2019, 19:42 pm

Steelers' media manager Dave Simms, match night co-ordniator Neil Edwards, photographer Dean Woolley, 50-50 ticket volunteer Elliott Hall and former physiotherapist Jamie Tunstall laced up their walking boots for a trek between Sheffield and Manchester.

Steelers’ veteran Mark, whose wife Vicki is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, joined them on the walk and they have almost hit the £10,000 target for her chosen charity Prevent Breast Cancer.

And despite Dave and Elliott having to drop out due to injury, donations continue to flood in and Mark said the group were hopeful of reaching their target.

They started the 50-mile journey in Sheffield at 7am on Saturday, before being driven back to the FlyDSA Arena for Steelers' game against Coventry Blaze.

After completing their match-night duties, they were then taken back to the location they got to and walked through the night before reaching Altrincham Ice Rink in time to see the Steelers take on Manchester on Sunday.

Sheffield Steelers staff pictured during their walk from Sheffield to Manchester. Picture: Dave Simms.

Mark, a dad-of-two, said: “It was very good. It was very tough but we got there in the end. We actually arrived in Altrincham in good time and I think we’re only about £600 short of £10,000.

“It was really hard to get going again after stopping for the game on Saturday. From 2am until 5am was the hardest bit but once the sun came up and we got through it, we were okay.”

It wasn't the first time the Steelers staff have laced up their hiking boots.

Mark Thomas pictured with wife Vicki and sons Bailey and Harley

Last year, they raised £22,500 by walking from Sheffield to Belfast, which was split between Weston Park Hospital, in memory of former fan Amy Usher and a wheelchair fund for young Belfast Giants supporter Blake McCaughey.

They also raised £32,000 by completing a walk from Birmingham to Sheffield to support Amy, who died of throat cancer in 2015.

And, in December a number of Steelers players and staff drew in £9,000 for Prevent Breast Cancer by having their heads shaved.

Mark Thomas in action for Sheffield Steelers in 2008.

Mark added: “These guys are doing everything they can to help raise funds and awareness and I wanted to join them to show I supported them and Vicki.

“It was very humbling that all the guys were doing it for Vicki. She is doing fine and it keeps her going daily when she sees things like this.”

 For more information or to donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/simmseyandfriendsforvicki