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Linfield fan sports Glentoran kit to pass charitable test with flying colours

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Linfield fan Stephen McMillen completed his walk in a Glentoran strip

Linfield fan Stephen McMillen completed his walk in a Glentoran strip

Linfield fan Stephen McMillen completed his walk in a Glentoran strip

Linfield fanatic Stephen McMillen has gone the extra mile in a charity 5k fundraiser by completing it kitted out from head to toe in the colours of his club's fiercest rivals Glentoran.

And in the process the big hearted Blueman has helped raise £20,000 for NHS frontline heroes.

The charitable initiative was kicked off late last month by the 1st Raven Linfield Supporters club, who encouraged their members to run or walk 5k for the medical teams who are risking their lives every day to help victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

The club, based in east Belfast, had initially set a target of £1,000 but soon found the donations rolling in.

And when they were £800 away from reaching their new goal of £20,000, a group of Glentoran supporters offered to meet the shortfall.

But they added one condition - that they would only hand over the cash if dyed-in-the-wool Linfield fanatic Stephen would do his 5k in a Glentoran shirt, shorts and socks.

"It's the last kit I would normally wear," says Stephen.

"But the NHS workers have been so fantastic that I was happy to rise to the Glenmen's challenge.

"But just this once."

Stephen admits he got strange looks from people who know his football allegiances as he walked through east Belfast where he lives, in his borrowed red, green and black gear.

He says: "There was a lot of banter too but I made it clear to everyone that I hadn't gone over to the dark side.

"I'm still blue through and though.

"Some people along the way to Stormont also wondered why I wasn't running the 5k.

"But I'm hardly the picture of fitness so if I'd run instead of walking, I would probably have put added pressure on the NHS because I might have needed some medical attention myself, diverting the doctors and nurses from the real problems they're facing."

The Glentoran donation came from the Raven Glentoran supporters club, who meet in the same social club as the Linfield fans.

Stephen Beattie, a member of the Glentoran club, said: "People are always talking up the bad relationships between Bluemen and Glenmen but at the Raven club we all get on well.

"We were pleased to do our bit for the NHS fundraiser and it was made even more worthwhile by seeing Stephen dressed so well on Saturday.

"Sadly however, he turned down the chance to keep the kit."

Belfast Telegraph