Day 127 + 13

Today one of the local papers Euro Weekly News picked up my story.

Steve Hall successfully completes the “92”

127 days and 3,060 miles in the saddle would not be high on the list of many a mortal. For one local Torrevieja gent, it’s been a mission that he felt needed to be done. That man is Steve Hall and four months later, after being knocked off his bike, spending a day or two in hospital and riding in more rain than he has experienced in a dozen or more years, his quest finished at the home of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, West Ham United, on September 23. On the way, Steve managed to visit all 92 English League football clubs along with a smattering of local and non-league teams too. The reason for all this effort was to raise awareness of the plight of the world’s 45-million refugees, something that FIFA, UEFA and the supporters of English League clubs now know more about than ever before.

We asked Steve how it all started.

“During the summer of 2009, I started to help promote the efforts of my friend and former professional footballer Bjorn Heidenstrom on his mission to cycle from Oslo to South Africa to raise awareness of the world’s 45 million refugees. Bjorn was collecting hundreds of football shirts as he cycled all over Europe and into Africa. These were sown together to make one gigantic shirt with had its own Marquee tent at the opening of the world cup. For my small part, I also decided to try and raise awareness, although on a smaller scale, by cycling around England and Wales.”

During the trip Steve received tremendous support from different and sometimes surprising sectors of the community. He slept on friends’ floors and sofas, in bed bug infected hostels, a few lovely hotels, a few not planned days in hospital and all on a ‘refugee’ budget of 20 euros per day. He always stresses that no matter how uncomfortable he might have felt during his trip, it is nothing compared to the millions of refugees, many of whom had to drop everything and flee their homes to escape certain death or abuse, mainly in the war ravaged countries of the African continent. Apart from being knocked of his bike he also suffered his own loss as a mysterious fire on the Costa del Sol destroyed everything that he owned and had collected over the years, including furniture and clothes to his prized collection of football programs and football souvenirs, which had been collecting from the age of six.

Not content with completing and surviving ‘Doing the 92’, he’s now having a few days well earned rest and hopefully returning to Torrevieja, albeit possession’-less, for even more networking and to catch up with close friends. What’s next? Steve says “The Big One. I intend to cycle from Spain through Europe and up to Norway to meet Bjørn Heidenstrøm. Then it’s a Trans-Atlantic cruise liner (spinning in their gyms, of course!) before a trip of a lifetime cycling from New York through Mexico, Central America and on to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup finals! This will be a two-year challenge and one which I trust will end with Spain retaining the World Cup! I am already looking for my first 1,000 supporters (@ just one pound) who will follow me (virtually, of course!) during my quest.”

For more information, please visit www.theshirt2010.co.uk, catch him on Facebook and hopefully if we all can do something, no matter how small, in our own lives that might help raise awareness of the refugee problem, then Steve has achieved and succeeded in making a difference.

Thanks to my best IRL friend and professional journalist, Keith Nicol for the article.

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