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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Botham walk raises 300,000 plus
Ian Botham
Ian Botham has found a lot of support along the way
Cricketing legend Ian Botham has completed his walk across south Wales, raising more than 300,000 for a new children's hospital.

He finished the 210-mile effort in the company of Charlotte Church, Helen Adams of Big Brother fame, former Hear'Say singer Noel Sullivan and James Fox, one of the students on Fame Academy.

Cricketers Matthew Maynard and Robert Croft, Olympic long-jumper Lyn Davies, and former Welsh rugby stars Gareth Edwards, Barry John, David Watkins and John Davies also joined the cricket star for the last leg which ended at Newport's Athletic Stadium..

Speaking at the finish line, Botham said: "I feel good but it's always a sad moment to finish the walk. I said this would be my last one but if, and I mean if, I do another one it will be in Wales.

"The warmth, hospitality and response from the people was fantastic."

Botham added that a fall by his wife Kathy during the last two miles had put a bit of a dampener on the last day.

His daughter Sarah said: "Kathy tripped on a speed bump and fell and hurt her hand but she is fine."

Chairman of the Noah's Ark appeal Stanley Thomas praised Botham for his "wonderful" effort, adding that he was a "great man" who could not be thanked enough.

He estimated that the walk had raised at least 300,000 so far towards equipping the Children's Hospital for Wales in Cardiff.

Celebrating

Celebrating with half a pint of cider Botham added: "We can't put an exact figure on what we have raised as we have just started the ball rolling. So many people have come up to me and told me of their plans to raise more money."

The walk was almost a repeat of the last time Botham undertook a charity walk for the hospital appeal - from Machynlleth to Cardiff Bay - 18 months ago.

Only then Hollywood star Catherine Zeta Jones was in the finishing line-up for the fundraising extravaganza.

That marathon raised almost 1m and Botham, who has strong connections with Wales through his son Liam playing rugby for Cardiff, promised that this would be the end of his charity walking days.

Last time both Charlotte Church and Catherine Zeta Jones joined Botham
Last time both Charlotte Church and Catherine Zeta Jones joined Botham

But although the Noah's Ark Appeal reached its initial 5m target earlier this year to pay for the building work at its site at the University Hospital of Wales, another 1.5m is still needed to equip it.

So Botham, supported by wife Kathy and an army of fundraisers and organisers, stepped forward once again.

During his latest trek he has walked - at almost a sprint - from Chepstow right round the south Wales Valleys, receiving cash donations and lots of support

He also found time to hand a cheque for 1,500 to Paralympic table tennis player Justin Furlong, 23,from Abercwmboi, near Aberdare to pay for a streamlined wheel chair.

Poignant

Along the way Botham has been accompanied by sporting greats including rugby hero JPR Williams.

Earlier in the week he stopped for a poignant ceremony - to lay a wreath in Aberfan, in memory of those who died in the tragedy there nearly forty years ago.

In October 1966 part of the coal waste tip above the south Wales village slipped, engulfing Pantglas Junior School.

The cricketer's trek has been fuelled by his favourite Indian curries.

The food order he requested included 100 tandoori chicken dishes, 200 samosas, 300 onion bhajis, 200 Pakora, 250 spring rolls, and 100 King prawn tandooris.

The manager of Botham's favourite restaurant in Doncaster even joined him on part of his walk




SEE ALSO:
Botham back on the road
03 Oct 03  |  Wales
Botham walks valleys for hospital
07 Apr 03  |  South East Wales
Botham walk raises close to 1m
13 May 02  |  Wales


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