Fans roll out Tangerine carpet

Blackpool fans turn out in big numbers to support charity workers and the 1953 FA Cup final win

Blackpool fans turn out in big numbers to support charity workers and the 1953 FA Cup final win

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More than 100 Blackpool fans welcomed three football supporters who have been on a mammoth fund-raising campaign to visit the grounds of all 43 FA Cup-winning teams.

Cris Bowden, Steve Hall and Richard Eldred arrived at Bloomfield Road on Wednesday, as they attempt to use 50 different modes of transport on their quest.

From (L-R) Blackpool Supporters Trust member Ashley Knowles and charity workers; Richard Eldred, Cris Bowden and Tony Hall

From (L-R) Blackpool Supporters Trust member Ashley Knowles and charity workers; Richard Eldred, Cris Bowden and Tony Hall

The challenge, FA Cup By Any Means, started when the friends left Berkshire for Southampton.

Modes of transport will include an ice cream van, taxi, punt, steam train, police car, canal boat, articulated lorry, and a yacht.

In Blackpool they, of course, chose one of the resort’s famous trams.

Blackpool fans turned out in big numbers to support the charity workers, and once again celebrate Blackpool’s 1953 FA Cup final win against Bolton Wanderers.

The trio are hoping to raise money for the Helen and Douglas House charity.

Last year Cris and Steve, along with two other friends, raised £6,702 by travelling to 92 league clubs in 92 hours.

Inspiration for the challenges came from Steve’s former six-year-old neighbour Ellie being born with a life-limiting disease.

The Helen and Douglas House charity supports hospices who provide care for children with life-limiting diseases, like Steve’s former neighbour.

Charity worker Cris said: “At just two-weeks-old, Ellie nearly died in intensive care, and at the same time her parents learned she was severely disabled.

“The staff at Helen and Douglas House have supported Ellie’s parents and allowed them to come to terms with what has happened.

“Having visited the hospice, we felt that this should become an annual event to help raise funds for the brilliant work of the hospice.

“This year, we felt that we needed a bit more of a challenge, so we decided to see how easy it was to get people to donate unique transport to us to travel around the country.”

Blackpool Supporters Trust (BST) sponsored the Lancashire leg of the tour, and the trust is providing the transport for the charity team to Blackburn, Burnley, Preston and Blackpool.

BST member Ashley Knowles met the organisers in South Africa, as they all supported England during the 2010 World Cup.

Steve Rowland, chairman of the BST, said: “We believe this FA Cup charity event is a fantastic opportunity for Blackpool fans to show our generosity and solidarity with our fellow football fans, demonstrating, once more, how football can bring different people together for a good cause.”