Sheffield derby: The special reason why one Sheffield Wednesday superfan is already on his way to Hillsborough

Excitement is building and banter levels are rising as the countdown to the Steel City Derby intensifies.

Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 13:23 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 13:27 pm
Shay O'Grady sets off on his 16-mile walk from Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice.

And while most of the city will be busy exchanging pleasantries with those on the other side of Sheffield’s football divide today, there can't be many fans who have already set off for the game.

But eight-year-old Sheffield Wednesday fan Shay O Grady has good reason – he is walking 16 miles from Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice to take up his seat at the derby.

Shay O'Grady sets off on his 16-mile walk from Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice.

And after the game was moved to a Monday night to allow TV coverage, Shay faces a busy two days if he is to complete the journey in time for kick-off.

Shay, of Ecclesfield, is walking from Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice in North Anston to Hillsborough but with school sandwiched in the middle he has had to split his journey into two legs.

He has so far raised more than £3,300 for the hospice, which helps care for his cousin Evie Mae Askwith-O’Grady, who has got a rare chromosome deletion order and needs round-the-clock care.

Shay O'Grady in Aston-cum-Aughton on his walk from Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice to Hillsborough.

 His proud dad Jason said: “Evie-Mae is five months younger than him so he used to wonder why she couldn’t walk when they were younger.

“He's always asked questions since he was little like why can't Evie Mae walk or talk.

"As he's got older he understands it a little bit more but what he does understand is how much Bluebell Wood do for Evie Mae and her parents Keeley and Adam and brother Brandon. They offer so much more to families – it’s an amazing place.

“He tries to do something every year and this year he said he wanted to do something good and he came up with this idea himself.”

Jason said the St Thomas More Catholic Primary School pupil goes to all the Wednesday home games with him and also plays the game himself, kitting out for Wisewood Juniors.

He event turned out for a crucial game against Handsworth this morning before starting his walk at 1.30pm this afternoon.

The youngster originally set out to raise £400 but donations have flooded in and including offline donations, his total currently stands at almost £3,400.

Jason added: “Last year he walked from Hillsborough to Bramall Lane and he has always wanted to go a bit further.

“He said he wanted to walk from the hospice to the game but it’s been moved to the Monday so he is going to have to do half on Sunday and half on Monday because he'll be at school.”

Kind-hearted Shay has previously collected Easter eggs from his football team-mates to donate to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Jason said: “We’re very, very proud of him. He is a fantastic lad, who loves his football. He’s very kind and loves to help anybody.

“He is always doing something and he loves doing things like this. As parents you to try encourage that.”

For more information or if you would like to sponsor Shay visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shayboogrady