TWO former Wigan Athletic stars will be getting on their bikes for a very special cause.
Neill Rimmer and Matt Jackson, who have both enjoyed spells as club captain, are cycling to Carrow Road, the home of Norwich City when Latics play there on Sunday, March 11 to raise money for the Emma Hoolin appeal.
It’s the latest in a string of events associated with the club to generate cash to go towards Emma’s treatment for her battle against child cancer Neuroblastoma.
The Whitley four-year-old is currently in America where she can receive the care she needs.
The whole town has been behind her right from her diagnosis last year and Wigan Athletic has been no different.
Neill and Matt will be joined by centre of excellence scouts Kenny Williams and Gary Sloane in their 260-mile journey in a fortnight’s time.
They’ll leave Wigan on the Wednesday with the aim of reaching Carrow Road in good time for Sunday’s 4pm kick off.
Preparations for the cycle have been going on for several weeks now with the journey and rest stops finally pinned down.
“That’s all been left to me,” laughed Neill. “I’ve made sure we’ve got a pretty good route sorted and we’ve got the hotels booked.
“We’ve kept it pretty flat so it shouldn’t be too rough, we’re just raring to go now.
“It’s for such a wonderful cause and the way not only the club but the town has got behind this makes you really proud to be from Wigan.
“The Emma Hoolin Appeal really has caught everybody’s hearts and hopefully we can raise as much aas we can.”
Matt, who skippered the team in the 2007 season, is a former Norwich player and the group will be hoping his ties with the Canaries will mean they get a gastronomical feast cooked by their director and celebrity cook Delia Smith.
It will be the second time in a month Neill has taken part in a lengthy journey for Emma’s appeal.
He, along with around 350 other Latics fans, walked seven miles to watch Wigan’s 1-0 victory against Bolton in Horwich.
And he is hoping this trip can be as successful as that one.
He added: “That was such a great day, seeing so many fans get involved. Hopefully we can have similar success because that captured the heart of the town once again.
“The players are all supporting us too. A lot don’t seem to know just how far it is but the British lads think we’re mad! They all know about Emma though and are completely behind the appeal.”
The group are asking all donations are made via the official Emma Hoolin fund-raising page www.justgivin.com/hope4emma.
l Sponsor money for the Walk4Emma is still coming in thick and fast with the total now surpassing the £6,000 mark.
Organiser Barry Worthington is asking people to add their sponsor people to their page www.justgiving.com/walk4emma.