Norwich City hero Grant Holt admitted it was “tough but worth every step” after completing his gruelling 46-mile walk from Ipswich to Norwich. The former Canaries striker embarked on his energy-sapping trek to raise funds and awareness for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
He finished at The Nook – EACH’s base in Framingham Earl – and was welcomed by staff from both the charity and the ARC Group, for whom he is an Ambassador.
His walk started in pouring rain from the company’s Ipswich office at 5pm on Tuesday. He then trekked through the night before arriving at The Nook shortly before 2pm on Wednesday.
Grant, 42, was joined by brothers and ARC colleagues Adam and Darren Miller, who were raising money for Norfolk charity The Big C. The trio were joined by Sean Garrihy, but unfortunately he had to drop out with a back problem at Diss.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve done for a long time but I’m absolutely delighted we did it,” said Grant.
“One minute your foot was sore, then your back, then your knee and then your feet, but we just had to keep going. We all had times when we were struggling so it was important to stick together and help each other along.
“I got through it mentally because I knew what I was doing it for – EACH. Obviously, I wanted to raise as much as possible because, like all charities, it always needs extra money and help.
“However, more than anything, I wanted to raise awareness of this amazing cause. Anything I can do to help boost its profile and tell people what an amazing and important place it is can only be a good thing.
“It was tough but worth every step and my pleasure to help. It was certainly an experience but not something I’m planning to do again in the near future!”
Grant previously completed a skydive for EACH and, in readiness for his walk, made two recent visits to The Nook.
On the first he was shown around by Corporate Fundraising Manager Caroline Allen and then, on Tuesday afternoon, before leaving for Ipswich, he met 16-year-old Ben Harwood, who has Lowe Syndrome.
The pair kicked a football and, after giving Grant a good luck high five, Ben was back at The Nook to see Grant return.
“It was lovely to see Ben both days and it’s for children like him, and his family, that we did what we did,” said the dad-of-three.
“Just before the end, an elderly couple came up to us, donated some money and said ‘thanks for everything you’re doing’. That was another of my favourite bits.”
Grant, who played for Norwich between 2009 and 2013 and was supporters’ player of the year three times, hopes to organise another fundraising challenge in 2024.
Caroline said: “We’re so grateful for the kindness, generosity and sheer determination of people like Grant. What he accomplished was incredible and everyone here takes their hat off to him. I don’t know how he did it.
“The funds he raised will undoubtedly help but it’s about more than that. It’s about him using his profile to raise awareness and make a real difference to our charity.”