Blades fan cycles to every away game this season to raise money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital

A Sheffield United fan is cycling to every SUFC away game this season to raise money for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity.

James Kemp, 51, of Apperknowle, said the challenge was sparked by “me and my big mouth” back in 2015 when Blades lost their first game of the season 4-0 at Gillingham.

He told his son: “That’s it. We are never going to get back in the premier league and if we do I’ll cycle to every match.”

The 19 away matches this season will see him cover a total of 3,500 miles.

Mr Kemp completed his eighth ride this week, cycling over 150 miles from Sheffield to Norwich. So far, Sheffield United have won seven of eight matches.

His next ride, to the Brighton game on the 21st of December, will take four days.

He has calculated that he will be exactly halfway through the challenge when he crosses the Snake Pass in the Peak District on his way to the Man City game on the 29th of December.

Mr Kemp has been a keen cyclist for over 15 years, but described himself as a “fair weather cyclist” before undertaking this challenge.

The Tottenham game on 9th November came just after days of torrential rain that caused the recent flooding – Mr Kemp described cycling for eight hours a day in these conditions as “torturous” but nothing can affect his determination.

He said: “On my way to Tottenham I felt cold and wet and miserable but then I thought about the heartache of the parents seeing their kids poorly and I didn’t feel cold anymore.”

He said the support from football fans and clubs has been amazing, and that it “feels incredible” to be cheered on by Blades fans as he arrives at matches.

So far Mr Kemp has raised nearly £2000 for the children’s hospital, and he aims to get that up to £5000 by the time the challenge finishes.

Abbie Pervin, regional fundraising manager at The Children’s Hospital Charity said: “It’s really inspiring to follow James’ challenge as he continues his incredible commitment to cycle across the country, following his beloved Blades, for the young patients at our hospital.”

“Every pedal and penny raised throughout the season will help build a new Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for children from across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire who depend on its excellent care. We continue to wish James the very best of luck.”

Mr Kemp will be publishing a book at the end of the challenge for “football fans, cyclists, adventurers,” all of the profit from which will also go to the charity.

James’ fundraising page is: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/james-kemp1889

More information on the appeal can be found here: https://www.tchc.org.uk/appeal/