Rasen rugby: Arthur puts best foot forward

From left, Arthur Baxter with club president Tony Smith, Clare Fenwick (honorary club secretary), Sandra Pace (club medical/first aid lead), Ben Duckworth (club sponsors ' Duckworth Land Rover), and Jonathan Fenwick (groundsman) EMN-181202-124945002

Market Rasen and Louth RFC was the starting point for a mammoth rugby-related fundraising walk to Leicester last week.

The club were without a fixture last weekend as the league took a fortnight’s break, but fundraiser Arthur Baxter made full use of their Willingham Road ground.

Arthur puts his best foot forward as he sets off from Willingham Road EMN-181202-124957002

Arthur, who lives in Swallow, near Caistor, chose Rasen as the starting point for his walk as two of his grandchildren play for the club’s junior ranks.

Market Rasen and Louth RFC president Tony Smith and members turned out to see the 75-year-old off last Tuesday in freezing temperatures, but with a donation of £250.

Arthur paid tribute to the club for their help in making the challenge possible.

“I must thank John Wood, of Rasen, who has been there for me at every twist and turn to ensure I was okay,” Arthur said.

In the middle of nowhere he would appear, taking me to my start point and picking me up at the daily finishing point.

“I would also like to thank members of Market Rasen and Louth RUFC, particularly Tony Smith, adding his weight to introduce me to other clubs.

“Also secretary Claire Fenwick for taking my request forward, and not forgetting those who turned up in the freezing cold to see me off.”

Arthur undertook the gruelling odyssey in aid of the Matt Hampson Foundation and MBF Hope For Tomorrow campaign.

The foundation was set up to support the former Leicester Tiger and junior England international Matt Hampson, who was paralysed in a training ground accident with England aged 20.

The MBF provides a mobile chemotherapy unit which serves Lincolnshire and hopes to replace 52 St John Ambulances throughout the country.

Donations will be split equally between the two charities.

The first leg of Arthur’s journey took him to Lincoln RFC on Tuesday afternoon and from there across the county border to Newark RFC the following day. After a well-earned day off, he then walked to Kesteven RFC, in Grantham.

After another break, Arthur was due to move on to Melton Mowbray RFC tomorrow (Thursday), then from Melton to Syston RFC on Friday before arriving at Welford Road, in time for the Leicester Tigers’ league match with Harlequins on Saturday.

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