'˜Amateurish' pals take on a gruelling challenge

Six self-proclaimed middle-aged, unfit and overweight adventurers have teamed up for the challenge of a lifetime.
Left to right: Barry Freeman, Phill Palmer, Syd Cottle and Syds daughterLeft to right: Barry Freeman, Phill Palmer, Syd Cottle and Syds daughter
Left to right: Barry Freeman, Phill Palmer, Syd Cottle and Syds daughter

The group, who mainly hail from Wigan borough, are preparing to trek more than 84 miles in just six days along the length of Hadrian’s Wall, carrying all their camping kit, to raise money for different causes close to their heart.

The idea for their coast-to-coast adventure came about because one of the pals, Phill Palmer, wanted to give something back to the charities who support his brother who has cerebral palsy.

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“We were all up for the challenge,” said Syd Cottle, 46, from Winstanley who is raising money for Bowel and Cancer Research.

“We wanted to do something inspirational and make our families proud, as well as get fit and raise money for charity.

“It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this before.”

The six, who call themselves The Amateurish Adventurers (www.amateurish.co.uk), have 10 children between them, aged one to 14.

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They don’t underestimate the physical challenge that lies ahead.

“Whilst we all have busy lives, most of us have sedentary jobs and are not massive walkers.

“We’ll each be carrying between 15k and 25kg and walking up to 18 miles a day, but we’ve started training and we’re looking forward to it,” said Syd, who is the director of estates management at the University of Liverpool.

“One of the toughest things will be being away from our families for such a long time.”

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The team consists of Syd, who is also supporting SANDs because he and his wife Lisa lost their first child Sophie to a full-term stillbirth.

“I’ve done lots of fund-raising in the past, but this is the first time it will be both a physical and a personal challenge,” he said.

Barry “Bazzer” Freeman, 48, a driver from Wigan, is supporting Macmillan and Cancer Research because of the support they offered before his mum died of cancer in 2016.

Phillip “Chopper” Palmer, 33, a recruitment manager from Wigan, is giving back to Scope and Mencap who support his twin brother who has cerebral palsy.

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Josh “Hardman” Hadfield, 38, from Manchester works in recruitment and is raising money for the Spinal Injuries Association. Adam “Pyro” Jones, 42, a refrigeration engineer from London and former Royal Engineers commando, is supporting ADHD groups and Mencap.

The group are hoping that with his military experience, he will be able to give them some tips over their gruelling backpack “yomps” across rough terrain.

And Joe Pridgeon, 41, a recruitment consultant from Manchester, is raising money for Kirkwood Hospice.

The six set off on April 27 from Tynemouth and head to Bowness-on-Solway on the Cumbrian coast.