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Football fanatics ready to take on marathon challenge for hospital

An amputee and former patient at a city hospital is to complete a marathon walk as West Midlands football fans unite to raise money for a children’s ward garden.

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Jude Aston from Penn in Wolverhampton is to join Jason Guy in walking the 26 miles between the region's five main football stadiums in an event called Rivalries Aside on Saturday, June 8 to raise funds for The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) Charity and Breast Cancer Now.

Starting at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s @ Knighthead Park at 8am, they will walk to Aston Villa’s home Villa Park, West Bromwich Albion’s The Hawthorns and Walsall’s Poundland Stadium before finishing at Molineux, home of Wolves.

It promises to unite local football fans for a good cause as 19-year-old Jude is an avid Aston Villa supporter and Jason is a Wolves fanatic, while they will be joined by Albion diehard Gav Ingles, with Jason and Gav having even worn the shirts of their arch rivals to promote the walk.

All of the money Jude raises will go towards The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) Charity to fund a revamp of the children’s ward garden.

The garden fund stands at more than £13,500 after Jason had a Millwall tattoo, the boyhood team of former footballer Neil Ruddock, who reciprocated with a Wolves one.

Jason also ran the Wolverhampton 10k with his wife Aimee, who completed the Stafford Half Marathon for the same cause.

Money raised by Jason Guy will be divided equally between the £30,000 garden appeal and Breast Cancer Now, after Jason’s late wife Lucy died of breast cancer, while Gav’s mum is battling the disease.

Lifelong Villa supporter Jude, who has cerebral palsy and calls himself the ‘AVFC amputee’, spent a lot of time in the children’s ward with complex regional pain syndrome where his right leg was doubled up after he suffered a reaction to treatment.

Since taking the decision to have part of his leg amputated, Jude now has a prosthetic limb which means he can walk unaided.

Jason Guy and Gav Ingles will be raising funds for Breast Cancer Now

He said: “When I heard about the walk and who it was raising money for, I was delighted to say yes.

“I spent a lot of time in that garden and I always wanted to go back after my amputation.

“So to be able to raise funds for a charity close to the hearts of me and my family only feels right.”

Jude, who is public relations and communications assistant in Public Health at Wolverhampton Council, will be supported on the walk by his mum Emma Aston and Andre King, physio on the children’s ward.

Father of two Jason, who is 46-years-old and from Trysull near Wolverhampton, said: “It’s massive for Jude to be involved.

"I know him personally and I know the challenges he has faced.

“He was very passionate about doing it because of the great work the hospital has done for him and he wanted to support it.”

Jason, who also runs the Wolves All Stars football team which raises money for charity and owns Wolverhampton City Centre recruitment firm StaffToday!, is hoping to attract some former footballers to support the walk too.

Amanda Winwood, charity fundraising development manager, said: “Jude’s story is inspirational and it’s wonderful and very appropriate that he, Jason and Gav are uniting to support this.

"Good luck to everyone taking part.”

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