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Friends hope bike ride to 21 London football grounds will inspire fundraisers

They hope the challenge will encourage others to raise money after the coronavirus pandemic hit charities financially.

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A group of five friends cycled to 21 London football grounds in one day (Matt Cusworth/PA)

A group of five friends cycled to 21 London football grounds in one day (Matt Cusworth/PA)

A group of five friends cycled to 21 London football grounds in one day (Matt Cusworth/PA)

Five friends who cycled to 21 London football stadiums in one day hope their charity effort will inspire others during the coronavirus pandemic.

The group have raised more than £5,000 by cycling to the grounds of London teams who play in the National League South and above, as well as Wembley.

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(Matt Cusworth)

(Matt Cusworth)

(Matt Cusworth)

And while the football fans enjoyed visiting some of the capital’s finest stadiums, their main aim is to draw attention to the plight of charities during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We also wanted to show that you can create something and you can still fundraise,” Matt Cusworth, 26, told the PA news agency.

At the start of the lockdown period in the UK, it was estimated that the country’s charities would miss out on billions in funding over the coming months, with events cancelled and shops closed.

The group were short of their £5,000 target as they began their epic journey around London, but while taking in clubs from Dulwich Hamlet to Chelsea, they passed the fundraising landmark.

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(Matt Cusworth)

(Matt Cusworth)

(Matt Cusworth)

The 130-mile trip presented challenges in the form of a 17-mile stint towards the finish from Dagenham to Dulwich Hamlet FC, which Mr Cusworth said required “a little pep talk” beforehand, while only one participant supported a London club.

Tottenham fan Nick Russell, 30, might not have been wearing a Spurs shirt during the ride but his behaviour could have given him away at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

“There were a few fans about (at Arsenal) – obviously, with the FA Cup, they were mingling around the stadium a bit,” said Mr Cusworth.

“I didn’t really notice until now, but he (Nick) didn’t really say too much at Arsenal.

“He was so far ahead of us on the way to Spurs, I don’t know if that was just excitement or what. He just bolted off trying to get as far away from Arsenal as possible I’m guessing!”

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(Matt Cusworth)

(Matt Cusworth)

(Matt Cusworth)

All five reached their own personal fundraising target, with Fight For Sight, Children With Cancer UK, Shelter, the RNLI and Mind all set to benefit from their efforts.

“We just hope that it inspires someone to go and create something of their own and raise some much-needed funds,” said Mr Cusworth.

To donate, the team’s JustGiving page can be found here.

PA