WIGAN grandad Barry Worthington has raised thousands for other people’s good causes over the years, Joseph’s Goal and Emma Hoolin included.
But the Swinley 55-year-old’s latest mission involving Latics fans taking a sponsored walk is a little closer to home.
In January last year, Barry’s son Peter welcomed a baby girl, Tilly, into the world but shortly after her birth doctors identified that she had four holes in her heart: a complex condition called tetralogy of fallot. Tilly’s was complicated because her pulmonary arteries were going the wrong way and feeding into the wrong chambers of the heart.
After several months in hospital she was allowed home because she would need to be bigger before she could cope with surgery. Tilly has so far undergone six operations including two major ones, which were very successful. However she does need more surgery in the next year to help stretch open her left pulmonary artery.
Barry said: “She’s wonderful, just like any other baby. Kids are so resilient and come through illnesses and get on with it.”
Despite the traumatic 18 months the family has endured, they’ve all been left blown away by the treatment at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital which currently needs funds for a new multi-million pound unit. So now this has become the focus of Latics-mad Barry’s latest project, having previously organised two mammoth fund-raising walks to his side’s clashes with Bolton in 2012 and 2013.
He said: “We did one for the Emma Hoolin which was very successful and one for Joseph’s Goal which raised about £10,000.
“So I decided this year we would do it for Alder Hey but Sky TV moved in and moved the Wanderers tie to the Friday night. It scuppered the whole idea so what I’ve decided to do instead is trek to Haigh Hall from the DW Stadium and back again.
“We’re going to do that on October 11 which is an international break weekend so no football.
“It’s also the weekend of the Grand Final so hopefully if Wigan Warriors get there a few rugby fans could do the walk.”
The walkers will leave the DW at around 10.30am and walk to the Hall via Wigan town centre, Scholes and Whelley with a pit stop at Rose Leisure Club on Cale Lane where everyone taking part will receive a free hot pot.
Barry added: “We’ll also have a celebrity walking for us in Miss Lancashire who is joining us with some other pageant girls.
“We’re hoping it will take us 90 minutes. Every walker will get a free hot pot at the Rose Leisure club on Cale Lane and have a raffle with some fantastic prizes like a signed Latics shirt and two tickets for the Brentford game amongst other stuff.
“Runshaw College public services and hospitality departments are providing marshalling and chefs to make the hot pot too so that should be good.
“We’ve done the Wigan 10k for Tilly which Tesco Express on Gidlow Lane got involved with. We’ve managed to raise just £800 from that and it was a fantastic experience.
“Joe Berry from Tesco was excellent with that and really helped us.”
To register email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive a poster, route card and a sponsor form.