Bob Wilson reaches his goal for Hatfield charity

AT the age of 70, a lot of people may think the time is right to start taking things a bit slower and putting your feet up.

But not former Arsenal and Scotland goalkeeper Bob Wilson, who is this week recovering after cycling more than 500 miles to every Premier League football ground in the country, in a bid to raise funds for the Old Hatfield-based Willow Foundation – the charity he and wife Megs founded in memory of their daughter Anna.

Setting off from Craven Cottage – home of Fulham FC – on April 18, Bob, who celebrates his 70th birthday later this year, spent 11 days visiting all 20 of the Premier League’s grounds on his bike.

Joining him in his 528-mile trip were David Tweddell, 78, a former Great Britain cyclist, and Steve Cliffen, 57, a retired special needs headteacher and founder of the Cicely Foundation, a children’s charity that supports deprived, vulnerable and needy children.

Also supporting the Double-winning keeper’s gruelling trip was a host of celebrities, former Arsenal players and other football legends, including David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Alex Ferguson, Wolves manager Mick McCarthy, Blackpool manager Ian Holloway and 1966 World Cup final goalscorer Martin Peters.

You may also want to watch:

After completing his journey with an additional trip to Hampden Park in Glasgow – the original stadium was opened by his grandfather – Bob spoke to the WHT about his “extraordinary experience”.

“I’m physically fine – I feel like I could get on the bike now – but I just want to sleep all the time,” said Bob.

Most Read

“The moment of the trip was being right out in the countryside, heading towards the Pennines, when we were stopped by a woman with a �20 note in her hand.

“It turned out that her son, Christopher, had had a special day out with us before he died aged 23.

“She was very emotional with me, and she thanked us for the day out Christopher had and the impact it had on home at a time when he was very poorly.

“I talked to her about Anna, and managed to hold it together quite well. But after I got back on the bike, thanked her for the money and said goodbye, I just couldn’t speak.

“That brought it all home, what this charity of ours is all about. It was a truly extraordinary experience, and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.”

You can still donate to Bob’s fundraising efforts, or organise a cycling challenge of your own, by visiting the link (top right).

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter