Sky Sports anchorman Jeff Stelling has launched plans for another marathon march to raise funds for prostate cancer in honour of fellow broadcasting doyen Bill Turnbull.
Turnbull, who died of prostate cancer in August aged 66, was a devoted Wycombe fan and Stelling will undertake his 34th ‘March for Men’ charity walk in September, from Wembley Stadium to Adams Park, home of the League One club.
‘I’ve done a lot of these walks over the years for prostate cancer and I’ll be honest I thought I’d done my last,’ said Hartlepool supporter Stelling, legendary host of Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports.
‘I thought I was 33 and out. And then this idea was put to me. I wasn’t a big friend of Bill’s but looking back you can trace some parallels and common ground.
‘We both started in local radio in the late 70s, we both worked at LBC in London for a while, we both supported lower league football teams.
Jeff Stelling has launched his next marathon walk to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK
Stelling announced news of his next Marathon March at Wycombe Wanderers stadium on Monday
Stelling admitted he was inspired to launch a new charity effort after the death of iconic presenter Bill Turnbull (pictured) who died from prostate cancer last year
‘I watched him on BBC Breakfast and Strictly, and Bill did such a lot when he spoke publicly about his prostate cancer. It had a massive, massive impact, I think there was a 20 per increase of people who went and sought advice.
‘We all wanted to do something as a tribute and to carry on his work.’
His first walk covered 262 miles from Hartlepool to Wembley in 2016, and Stelling has raised around £1.4million for Prostate Cancer UK and raised awareness about a disease that will affect one in eight men, and kills on average one every 45 minutes.
Still, the prospect of another epic march of more than 26 miles fills him with a certain dread.
‘It’s a long way,’ said 67-year-old Stelling. ‘In the early days, I thought how hard can this be? I’d run marathons and I thought it couldn’t be as hard as that but it is, if not harder, mainly because of the wear and tear from being on your feet for so long.
‘But you’re walking in a group and everybody has a reason for walking, living with someone or has known someone who has had prostate cancer. There’s a unique camaraderie and it isn’t all doom and gloom, it’s sort of joyous.
‘At least for the first 17 or 18 miles. It’s a long time to walk and a long time to talk to take your mind off the fact your feet are aching and something’s chafing and there’s 10 miles to go.’
As he launched his latest challenge at Adams Park, Wycombe, Stelling recalled fond memories from the early stages of his first march.
Stelling (right) posed for photos with Wycombe Wanderers manager Matt Bloomfield (left)
The legendary Sky Sports presenter will kickstart his new walk on Sunday September 17
‘On the second day of the very first set of marches we did we walked from York to Leeds,’ he said. ‘Some people were walking off at quite a pace, and we weren’t as well marshalled as we should have been and half of the group got lost and we were wandering aimlessly into Leeds, and instead of doing 26 miles we did 34. We were lost in Leeds and to say I was furious was an understatement.
‘The very next day, we were on the leg going from Doncaster to Scunthorpe. It was miserable, wet and dreary, the worst-supported leg of any of the 33 walks we’d done.
‘Only 17 people were walking with us, there were no celebrities and I remember thinking this is a nightmare.
Stelling is hoping to rope his friend and Sky Sports colleague Chris Kamara (pictured) into joining the walk as well
‘Halfway, we got to a pub and Ian Botham, who had flown back from Australia the previous day, was waiting with his wife, his daughter and his dog, and he lifted us all. He did the second half of the walk and it was a different world. Beefy literally saved the day.’
Stelling promises to cajole some of his Soccer Saturday colleagues and his old pal Chris Kamara, who stepped down from his Sky Sports duties in 2022 when he was diagnosed with apraxia of speech, into participation in one way or another.
‘Kammy has done a lot of the walks with us,’ he added. ‘He’s always been a great supporter of this but I’m not sure a) about his health and b) because he’ll be weighed down with his MBE. I’m hoping we can get the current bunch involved. Clinton Morrison should be a definite starter.’
Jeff Stelling will walk from Wembley to Wycombe’s Adams Park on 17 September. You can sign up to join him atwww.prostatecanceruk.org/jeffsmarch
This post first appeared on Daily mail