Express & Star

Saddlers fan in walk from Walsall to Wembley in memory of grandfather

A life-long Saddlers fan who used to go to matches with his grandfather is going to pull on his trainers and walk from Walsall to Wembley in his memory.


Graeme Brookes said the gruelling 138-mile challenge was the perfect way to remember Ronald Brookes who fos - despite being deaf and blind.llowed the team home and away for 83 year

In 2005, Ronald, or Ronaldo as he was fondly known by his friends, was due to be honoured by the club for his long-standing service but just two days before he suffered a stroke and went into a coma.

Five days later he passed away, aged 91, having never seen Walsall reach Wembley. The Saddlers are playing Bristol City in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final on March 22.

Mr Brookes, who used to 'type' how a match was going on his grandfather's hand using the deafblind manual alphabet, is planning to arrive at Wembley on the day of the final having set off from Banks's Stadium eight days earlier.

He said: "My grandfather was a life-long Walsall fan and was present when we beat Reading in 2001 at the League One play-off final.

"But because Wembley was being refurbished it was held at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

"Even though he enjoyed the game he said 'I wish it was at Wembley'. He always wanted to walk down Wembley Way.

"So now we are going to Wembley I thought what a way to commemorate his memory."

Mr Brookes, aged 31, who now lives in Worcester, will set off on March 14 towards Tame Bridge Parkway station and then trek along the Grand Union Canal for most of the journey.

To prepare for the challenge, he has been walking up to 10 miles a day.

The gruelling task is to raise money for the Walsall Society for the Blind, the charity that supported Mr Brookes's grandfather when he was a teenager.

He said: "They rely heavily on the superb work of volunteers as well as public fundraising. My training is going alright, the blisters are starting to come so now I just donations."

Mr Brookes is writing a blog about the challenge. To view it go to

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