My name is Steve Hall. I am a Brit who lives in Spain and who loves football.
In June 2017 I shall start out to cycle from Kirkenes on the Norwegian/Russian border to visit all the clubs in the top three divisions of Norwegian football.Yes, that’s some 5000 kms and 100 nights. The intention is to get 5000 signatures on one football shirt!
Already people are offering to support me and, very importantly, I have been promised the support of all the guys at The Shirt project. Thanks, guys! See more details here
In 2010 I cycled to all the 92 football league clubs in England and Wales. I set off in May and finished on 23 September 2010. I was met with almost universal kindness, hospitality and friendship. The 2016 trip will be more complex in many ways. I shall have tougher cycling conditions, much longer between stops and in a country where I do not know the language or have nearly so many contacts ….and I will be six years older!
Please check through the site to learn more about the project, the people involved and how you can also help and get involved.
COPA HONOURS OLD & NEW AJAX GROUNDS
The history of Ajax football club can roughly be devided into two periods. From 1934 until 1996, the club played its home games in De Meer in the ‘Betondorp’ district. Betondorp equals Ajax. The legendary Johan Cruyff was born and raised just a few blocks away from the stadium.
In 1996, the Dutch record champions moved to their new ground. The Amsterdam ArenA was, and still is, the largest stadium in the Netherlands. To mark the 20th anniversary of the Amsterdam ArenA and honour the iconic ground De Meer, COPA has recently launched two special T-shirts.
The Amsterdam ArenA, has been the home ground for Ajax since 1996. It was also used during EURO 2000, for the 1998 Champions League Final and the 2013 Europa League Final. Additionally, many famous artists such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Beyoncé have given concerts in the stadium. This new T-shirt project is an official collaboration between COPA and the Amsterdam ArenA.
Photographer Marco Magielse was once strolling through Betondorp looking for inspiration for an Art Academy class about architecture. He could not have imagined that one of the pictures he took that day would many years later make it on to a COPA T-shirt. This iconic stadium was the home of Ajax from 1934 until 1996 and will be remembered forever.
On February 13th this year River Reeves, 19, together with his three band mates from Viola Beach; Kris Leonard, 20, Tomas Lowe, 27 and Jack Dakin, 19 and their manager, Craig Tarry, 32 were killed in a car accident in Sweden. They were travelling home from their first international gig.
River lived in Penzance, Cornwall, before he moved to Warrington in 2007 where he went on to join Viola Beach who’s album went to Number 1 in the album charts posthumously over the summer.
Riv’s Riders is a team of River’s family and friends, who are making the same journey, on our bikes… cycling from Penzance to Warrington to raise money for the River Reeves Foundation. There will also be a donation made by the foundation to The Viola Beach and Craig Tarry Memorial Fund so that a permanent memorial, celebrating the lad’s short lives and all that they achieved in that time, can be erected in the town centre.
The River Reeves Foundation has been set up to support young musicians and those involved in the performing arts, who need financial support to help them overcome the many barriers to fulfilling their dreams and which Viola Beach also faced in their too-short musical careers.
It is a hardship trust that can support all manner of personal causes linked to the performing arts and it is a fantastic legacy for River – who was an all-round performer from when he could walk and talk!
He would be incredibly proud to know this fund in his name will help ease the journey for others like him, and may well help create some more stars of the future.
Riv’s Riders will be covering a distance of 410 miles, averaging approx. 75 miles per day (and around 5000ft daily climb), setting off from the Jubilee Pool in Penzance on Monday 19th September, planning to arrive at the Warrington phone boxes at lunchtime on Saturday 24th September (5.5 days total)
Target £10,000 – Please sponsor us by donating through this crowd-funding page: https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/RivsRiders2016CycleChallenge
All donations will be collated by JustGiving and a cheque for the total will then be paid to the River Reeves Foundation.
All costs will be covered by the team – every penny donated goes to the charity.
Thank you in advance – your support means a huge amount to us.
If you want to ride in with us on the final day as a River Rainbow Rider (wearing colourful kit!)….itinerary details attached. We’d be thrilled to have you alongside us.
BBC and ITV will be covering our Finish Line arrival.
A Lap of Spain
A Lap of Spain for Charity
The Bull boys are off on another adventure to raise money!
It’s not long now until father and son team, Dave and Mitch Bull, will be off on their epic journey around the coast and borders of Spain on motorbikes, raising money and awareness for the AECC (Cancer research) and the Samaritans in Spain, of which Dave is the patron.
Twenty-three days travelling will see them visit most of Spain’s biggest cities and along the way they’ll be meeting up with groups and local contacts who are going to help them along the way.
The ´challenge´ for the two of them is to cover almost 400 kilometres each day without using motorways and sticking as close as possible to the coast and the borders with France and Portugal. They´ll have just five euros each per day for food and drink because they both want to keep costs to a minimum. Each night they´ll be looking for a friendly campsite where they can pitch their tent for free and, fortunately, with both of them having a passion for cooking, the evening meal should at least be tasty, although a Camping Gaz stove restricts the variety on the plate somewhat!
Following on from last year´s successful challenge to row two kayaks down the River Segura, from Murcia to the coast at Guardamar (52km), which raised over €3,000 for the charities, Dave and Mitch have raised the bar this year to try and cover the 7,500 kilometres in the time allocated and visit some of Spain´s best known places. Their progress will be updated every day on social media with videos and images of the day´s ride. And along the way they plan to meet up with biker groups who will join them on parts of the trip and with local businesses who will show them around the locality.
Both riders are highly experienced on motorbikes having raced on the circuits here in Spain up until a few years ago and with Mitch having sat, and ridden, his first motorcycle at the tender age of five years old the pair are well equipped for what will surely be a test of endurance and conditions as the weather in the north of Spain and in the mountains of the Pyrenees and Granada will be completely different to what they will find in the Southern part of the country.
With both bikes loaded with around 50kg of equipment, and as Dave says, “a few boxers and t-shirts”, the going certainly won’t be swift, especially in the seaside towns and cities that they’ll be passing through every day.
So far all the costs of the trip have been covered by generous sponsors, both businesses and private individuals, which has once again humbled the pair. Said Mitch, “People are just so kind and come up to us handing over cash or requesting the donation page because they all know someone who at some time has been affected by cancer, or has struggled with life at times and has called the Samaritans. We just want to do our bit and with a member of our family being treated for cancer we felt that we needed to do something.”
Follow the boys on their Facebook page: Riding for Cancer or on Twitter and Instagram: davejbull. The website also has all the relevant information too: www.motorbikechallenge.com and there is a donation page at: https://www.gofundme.com/2ggh7wqc where all donations will go straight to the two charities.
Dave and Mitch will be leaving Gran Alacant (town hall car park) on the 27th of September at 12pm and heading up to Alicante Castle before continuing the journey to Valencia where they will camp out for the first night. Barcelona follows on the 28th with an appearance on Simon Harris´s radio show on Barcelona FM. Then they´ll be off to Gerona before heading across the Pyrenees for two days.
It´s a long time on the road but the boys are sure to have some amazing experiences along the way which you´ll be able to see for yourself via the various medias available.
We´ll keep you updated here too so keep an eye out for the ‘Challenge’, and the two of them coming through your town in October. The folks from the shirt will be at the Start and again meeting up with them at the very end when they come through Torrevieja and rest at Coys Rent A Car.
Where will you meet Dave and Mitch?
OK, I know you think I am going to right some drivel about Leicester City going to Cardiff for the Champions League Final in May 2017. No, this is far more important. Please read on.
Two e-buddy colleagues of mine sent me this very important update yesterday. Alan and Elle own www.SpainBuddy.com, a great resource about all things Spain. Like me, Alan is a traveller/adventurer/extreme sport freak etc and needs our support this week. Without editing the press release much, I am rushing it up here.
“You may remember a recent post about our new friend Tasha Lynch, who is a very poorly lady living on the Costa Blanca. Well, can you help?
Can you help?
Tasha is suffering from three incurable diseases: hemiplegic migraines, myasthenic crisis and transverse myelitis. The latter two have caused Tasha major disabilities. If you don’t know Tasha’s story – you can read more about it here: Help Tasha Since that article was posted, Tasha has been through a couple of rounds of chemo and suffered several relapses.
By way of the fantastic fundraising of so many people, a special car has been purchased. The Peugeot Expert is now sat in Leicester… waiting for collection. This Peugeot will enable Tasha to get into the vehicle without having to leave her wheelchair – it will make such a difference to her life – and she’s already got enough to worry about what with her respiration machine and her chemo.
Last night (August 26 2016), Tasha’s Dad (Andy) posted a message on Facebook asking if anyone would be able to drive the new car to Alicante.
Our Alan loves a road trip, and when I mentioned it to him he jumped at the chance. So today, after a good chat with Andy, we have booked him a flight from Alicante to Liverpool (via Edinburgh because it’s that time of year when direct flights to England can be horrifically expensive) where Alan will then be able to get to Leicester. If all goes according to the plans we’ve put in action this afternoon, the new wheels will be in Alicante in early September…. around the 5th or 6th.
We will be providing regular “check ins” via the Spain Buddy Facebook page and the La Marina Gossip Facebook group, so that people can track the new van as it pootles along to Alicante.
But here’s where we need your help.
At the end of the day – Tasha needs this car and she needs it quick. So we wanted to get the ball rolling and make sure it gets where it needs to.
Although fundraising monies have been made available for the trip from Leicester to Alicante – the costs to get Alan to that point are already mounting up. The flight, the fuel from here to Alicante and more… well it soon mounts. This time of year is particularly expensive for flights. We’ve paid it just to ensure the car arrives… but it’s a lot of money. Some money has been made available by Andy – but again, we want to minimise any impact on funds already collected.
If anyone would like to help ease our financial commitment – we’d be thrilled. If we don’t manage to collect enough, that’s okay, we’ll cover it of course. If contributions go over and above our expenses… then any excess will be donated directly to Tasha for any of her ongoing needs. It would be amazing if all costs could be covered without impacting on any funds raised so far!
Andy is giving us a lump of money from the fundraising pot (which pretty much covers the ferry, fuel and tolls through France and Spain). But we really don’t want to use it unless we really have to. It would be wonderful if we can give him that money back!!!
We won’t make any money out of this ourselves – hey, even though it’s taken Alan out of the business for ten days…. I do love a bit of peace and quiet… just me and the dogs. So it’s win win!
If you have a spare €1, €5, €10, €20, or even €50 – please would you send it to us via PayPal. Here’s how.
Go to www.paypal.com and log in as you normally would.
Click on “Money” in the top menu and then on “Send Money”.
Then select “Send money to friends and family” (so we can avoid any surcharges) and enter the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Click “Next” and then enter the amount you would like to contribute and follow the steps as normal.
I’ve set up that special PayPal email so that we can accurately trace all contributions and make sure they go to the right place. We operate transparently, so Tasha and her Dad Andy will always know how much money is being donated.
UPDATE: A couple of people have messaged us because they don’t have PayPal. No problem! If you drop a comment with your contact email address at the base of this article, that sends us an email. Nothing gets published unless we tick a box – but then we will have your contact info and can send you bank details. Or you can use the “Contact Us” page link at the top of all pages on this website. Once a bank transfer is done, we will put the money in the right hands on your behalf.
There is more news coming too – which we will share with you as soon as certain conversations have been confirmed. If things go as we hope, then the impact on the funds already collected will be lessened further – enabling even more money to go towards Tasha’s day to day expenses and care.
Already, people have been rallying around to help in practical ways. Special thanks go to:
Andy – who has been wading through my million messages and phone calls for the various bits of information that we need
Alan – for being the best fella a woman could have and not minding one jot when I asked if he would consider doing this to help someone he has never met
Alan’s family for already organising ways for him to get from Liverpool to Leicester without worrying about buses or trains… and of course for giving him somewhere to sleep.
Jon Hughes – for supporting and raising extra awareness of Tasha’s situation constantly, and ensuring that Alan and I have also felt supported while planning the journey while also offering to help find Alan a bed in La Marina tonight. Jon (and his good lady Jackie) runs La Marina Gossip Group and it is in there that we first learned about what Tasha is going through.
UPDATE: Stu & Syb Bradley – the owners of Le Chant d’Oiseau who have very kindly offered a bed and a hot shower as Alan travels down from Le Havre through the Loire region of France.
UPDATE: Phil Burch and the team at Exclusive City Breaks have pledged €0,50 from every booking until the end of September. Phil has been our Travel Agent of choice for a number of years now. Top fella!
Tasha – I think she deserves the biggest thanks for driving the rest of us to stop whingeing about minutae, and showing us how ladylike and brave she has been throughout her illness. She doesn’t always feel strong. She doesn’t always feel brave. But by God she won’t let that stop her from fighting. She can also rock a funky hairband like no other.
All the many of you that have already dug deep to help support Tasha… and that continue to do so by making personal donations, organising events and much more. You all know who you are!!!”
I was really sad to learn about Dave Thomas this week. To go blind is one of the absolute worst things I can think of. I am sure we all wish him the very best of luck.
Former Middlesbrough, Burnley and QPR star Dave Thomas to auction signed shirt collection for charity
A FORMER international footballer suffering from severe glaucoma is auctioning off highly-coveted memorabilia to raise cash for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Dave Thomas, 65, who played as a winger for Middlesbrough FC in 1981 and for England eight times between 1974 and 1975 – as well as other top flight clubs including Burnley and QPR – has collected several signed football shirts for an auction at Tennants, Leyburn, on August 5.
Dave has already raised more than £20,000 for the charity and hopes the signed shirts and memorabilia will bring in more cash to help train guide dogs for people who are losing their sight.
“It’s a really good collection including a West Ham shirt from the 1980 winning FA Cup side, and a Tottenham Legends shirt from 1970,” he said.
Dave, who had a long career as a PE teacher after retiring from football, has spent months persuading each of the Premier League clubs to donate a shirt.
He said: “I wanted to do this for Guide Dogs for the Blind because it is not until you have sight problems yourself that you realise how important they are.
“It costs the charity £50,000 per dog, from birth to retirement, and there are around 5,000 dogs in the UK – they do a fantastic job and need to be supported.
“QPR have agreed to sponsor a dog which is brilliant.”
Mr Thomas said while he can see straight in front of him, his peripheral vision is failing – so his wife Brenda has to accompany and drive him everywhere.
The grandfather-of-four said: “With a dog I can be independent and get the bus.”
Guide Dogs fundraiser Susan Robinson said: “We would like to thank Dave for all the hard work he has put in to make this event happen. We would also like to thank Tennants for their generosity in facilitating the auction.
“When someone loses their sight, it shouldn’t mean losing their confidence and independence too. The charity Guide Dogs is here to make sure they don’t lose their freedom as well. It takes around 20 months of specialised training to transform a new born puppy into a confident guide dog, so every penny helps.”
Follow Dave on twitter
OK, guys. Here we go again!
I am HUGELY disappointed about the whole the Brexit situation and repercussions and do not try to hide that.#BrexitDebacle
I am now decided to set a website up to support British Expats and our desire to stay in Europe. This will, of course, be Spain-centric
As well as the website. I will also be “cycling” (TBC) from Gibraltar to Westminster to explain our disgust at being sold down the Ebro!
Last year I did a 90 days digital tour through Spain that was (arrogantly!) very successful. Thanks, guys! This time, time is of the essence so it’s thinking caps on time!
My current thinking is to start the journey in Gibraltar, to “cycle” through Andalucia along the Costa del Sol into Malaga up to Granada, into Murcia, along the Levante and up to the French border via Catalonia. From there it will be hot-speed to Westminster via Perpignan, Lyon The Jungle and Paris.
As I go through the various towns, cities and regions I shall meet the local expats and immigrants who will tell me about their lives and how Brexit can/will change it. I am a democrat and will also take content from those who want to exit (if I can find any, but I won’t look hard!!) The expats can tell me how much they love Manilva, what their life is and, of course, pimp their beauty salon or estate agency. (I expect nothing for nothing!)
I am also being encouraged to promote the trip on another large FB remain group.
This is a HOT topic and I am NOT 100% sure how I will “cycle”. More details ASAP.
Many thanks to all who have offered to assist. APPRECIATED.
This event will be a huge media circus and I will be delighted to feature all expats who are concerned that we have been sold down the Thames, Seine, Danube etc!
This is a bare skeleton, if you have any ideas and what your names/businesses more prominently mentioned, just SHOUT. Although this is my 5th/6th similar gig, I am learning every time.
YOUR SUPPORT IS WELCOME.
C U WHEN I GET THERE – FUNDRAISING FOR ALZHEIMERS
Many of you will remember my 90 day digital tour of Spain in 2015. I was excited to see that a young Dutch lady is doing an even more challenging route. I hope you will support Saskia.
A Dutch lady is cycling 5,000km from Amsterdam, via the UK, and back to the Costa del Sol (Spain) where she lives to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research …. and she won’t be leaving her front room!
Saskia Vervoort is doing the virtual cycle on her exercise bike and is clocking up the kilometres as she goes whilst also mapping out a route along the way so she can stop and virtually visit her friends and drum up support from them and local businesses along the way.
She aims to cycle at least 22 kilometres a day and has set herself a target of a total of 5,000km to be completed by the end of the year.
Saskia began cycling at home in the New Year. She cares for her husband Christian who was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago. His illness has been fairly progressive and she is now unable to leave him alone for long periods of time and because of this had to give up visiting her local gym. Instead she bought a home exercise bike and began cycling at home. “At first I just wanted to get some exercise to make myself feel better as it was frustrating not being able to leave the house to go to the gym as I did before.” said Saskia.
“I am very proud of the way Chris tries to make the best of his situation but the daily care was becoming an emotional burden for me and I needed a release and decided to start working out again. I started cycling every morning and recently realised that I had clocked up nearly 2,500 km, which when I put on the map I had cycled from Malaga back to Amsterdam where Chris is from. So I thought why not give myself a challenge and raise money for an important charity by cycling back to Malaga and getting people to donate along the way.
“I’ve included a detour to the UK as I am raising funds to be shared equally between Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer Centrum where Chris was initially treated and I also have lots of friends and friends of friends in the UK who I can ‘visit’.”
The idea is via her CU When I Get There Facebook page Saskia will announce which town she will be visiting and invite people there to buy her a sandwich for her lunch, or some new trainers or a puncture repair kit for example and donate the money for that to the collection set up the C U When I Get There website. She is asking them to send in their photo and CU sign to the Facebook page so she can thank them. Anyone can join in by liking the page and also invite or tag friends to like the page in the areas she is passing through so they can follow her journey.
She aims to complete the final few kilometres at the end of the year by taking her exercise bike to her local bar in Coin near Malaga, where she can end the tour amongst friends with a finishing party and well-earned drink!
C U WHEN I GET THERE – THE ROUTE
A Thousand Miles
The third edition of my novel, ‘A THOUSAND MILES FROM NOWHERE’ is now on sale-in paperback and Kindle. For those of you who don’t know, this is the new version, with some minor changes to the story including a new ending, a new cover and new genre!
The promo video is for fun as well as for promotional purposes-the moment this is no longer fun it is time to stop. Creativity is for pleasure not for pain so I’m attempting to enjoy the trip, every step of the way, even the sleepless nights! The video is accompanied by the track ‘I just want to make love to you’ by the great Etta James, the theme is, ‘Nothing comes between me and a good book’!This will be my theme in general to promote the book, fun, quirky but with the message that most avid readers will understand; when you are fully immersed in a good story, the world around you disappears…
The novel is available to purchase on the following links below and more to come.
The link below is to my blog where you will find the novel synopsis plus an article explaining why I’m on the THIRD edition of my book! As well as reviews, info and articles with extracts from other potential novels of mine.
“A Thousand Miles from Nowhere”, a novel by Saffron Mello Castro
How the story began…
I’ve lived in Spain on/off since 1986 when I first moved out with my family. I’ve lived in many different ‘pueblos’ up and down the north Costa Blanca and am currently living near Denia with my youngest daughter. I’ve always loved creative writing and from a young age would spend my time writing short stories. As an adult I continued writing for myself and finally found the courage to send some articles to a local paper, which were subsequently published. I also enjoyed writing a blog and some angst poetry. I began writing more seriously around five years ago after trying my hand at some Erotica after reading an article on the benefits of being a writer of this particular genre (given the current climate of acceptable naughtiness E.G ‘5o shades’ I’m considering continuing some of the stories I discarded!) This led me into my novel as I began writing about my experiences in life: I could not stop writing and found it to be a hugely cathartic experience.
A THOUSAND MILES FROM NOWHERE is fundamentally an alternative love story:
A journey of experimentation and sexual awakening set in Spain in the late eighties/ early nineties at a time when the whole ‘New Age travellers’ scene was well and truly alive: Told in the first person, an account of the protagonist’s feelings, experiences and adventures as she leaves the UK on a journey of self-discovery. In an attempt to blot out all memories of the person who had such a profound and at times, damaging effect on her life, she finds herself drawn to other men to numb the pain. She embarks on a series of affairs and relationships, some of which invariably end in tears and others that potentially place her life in danger. Despite her intentions to ‘find herself’ and some direction in life, she’s drawn to some less salubrious characters, as well as certain mind altering substances that do little to clarify her thought patterns, adding more confusion to an already confused mind. The story is in part based on my own real life experiences, as well as those of others I’ve known, with a large portion of imagination thrown in of course…
The story veers from light-hearted, amusing reading to moments of deeper introspection, darkness and intense hedonism.
Who is the book aimed at? Given the drug content and travel, my initial assessment would have been, ‘Alternative chick lit’ and ‘the young twenty something/backpackers’: Though let’s face it, those of us around at that time are well over twenty now! To set the mood, I’d perhaps describe it as having subtle murmurs of, ‘Hideous kinky’, ‘The beach’, combined with ‘Eat, pray, love’ but with the rawness of ‘Skins’ -This is all purely from a marketing perspective as I don’t like to pigeon hole: Whoever the book touches in some capacity is enough for me. Evidently the surrounding environment has hugely influenced my story and the setting: Just a clue for those who read the novel; the ‘fear and loathing’ moments in ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’- the centre of hedonism is based on a popular tourist resort on the Costa Blanca! The novel is available for sale on Amazon Kindle.
For those technophobes like myself who did not know this, you don’t have to own a KINDLE to read the kindle Ebooks-you can download the free Kindle App onto any PC or laptop with internet connection and read them there. Any aspiring authors who wish to publish an EBook and need some technical support-English speaking José Bertomeu at ciber La Sella was a brilliant help in the final stages of formatting.
Finally, I don’t believe my story is any more or less unique than anyone else’s, I’ve just chosen to tell it.
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Unbelievable! Jeff completes Men United March to raise over £300k
Watch his thank you here.
After 10 days of back-to-back walking marathons, Jeff Stelling completed his epic journey from Hartlepool to Wembley on Wednesday 30 March. Before finishing the final day Jeff took time out to record a special thank you message for everyone who has supported him.
It was an emotional and captivating challenge taking every ounce of Jeff’s determination, energy and will to drive him over the line at Wembley.
Aided and abetted by Russ Green, Hartlepool United’s head honcho, Jeff battled the elements, the crowds and the blisters to complete his 262 mile challenge. Here’s the moment he crossed the line.
Catch up with all the highlights across the 10 days with our daily #JeffsMarch diary and get the inside track on his extraordinary journey. We’ve also posted the first batch of photos on our Facebook page.