Painful plod to Portman Road in sleet, snow and rain raises £1,000 for EACH

James Dunkley holds son Max at Ipswich Town's football ground

James Dunkley with three-year-old son Max at Portman Road - Credit: James Dunkley

Battling the elements was worth it for an Ipswich Town fan who raised more than £1,000 for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) walking from Cambridge to Portman Road. 

Event manager James Dunkley, who is 35 and lives in Kirby Cross, walked through snow, sleet, wind and rain to make it back to the football ground ahead of the Blues' 0-1 loss to Cambridge United. 

The near-60-mile journey from Abbey Stadium saw Mr Dunkley start his trek on March 31, with two overnight stops in Bury St Edmunds and just outside Stowmarket ahead of the game on April 2.

James at Cambridge United's football ground ahead of his fundraising challenge

James left the Abbey Stadium in Cambridge on March 31 to walk nearly 60 miles to Portman Road - Credit: James Dunkley

He raised more than £1,300 through his 'plod to Portman Road' and described the experience as "amazing" - although "pretty painful". 

Speaking after the journey, James said: "I was delighted to smash my target and raise so much. 

"It was certainly tough going, though, especially on day one when I walked nearly 30 miles. 

"I faced everything from snow and sleet to wind and rain and it was pretty brutal. 

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"My legs were killing me the next morning but a friend joined me and we managed to get to Stowmarket, only leaving 11 or 12 miles to do on the Saturday morning. 

"The end was in sight by then and it was lovely to see my wife and children at Portman Road." 

James was greeted at the home of his beloved Blues by family and friends, including wife Charlotte, three-year-old son Max, who already has an Ipswich season ticket, and one-year-old daughter Nora. 

He continued: "I was then introduced to the crowd at half-time and said a few words, which was a great experience. 

"Overall, I loved the challenge, even if it was pretty painful at times.  

"The most disappointing thing was the football, given that Ipswich lost 0-1." 

EACH has ties in both Cambridgeshire and Suffolk and Mr Dunkley said "such an important local charity requires as many donations as possible, especially after the past couple of years".