True blue's charity run

TRUE blues fans will go to great lengths to see their beloved Ipswich Town play at Portman Road.And today, one supporter is in training to run 40 miles to get to a game.

TRUE blues fans will go to great lengths to see their beloved Ipswich Town play at Portman Road.

And today, one supporter is in training to run 40 miles to get to a game.

Malcolm Thompson, a North Stand season ticket holder, will be running to Town's ground from his hometown of Haverhill next season to fundraise for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Mr Thompson, 45, said: “I have never done any running before apart from running to the bar at last orders. This is going to be a massive challenge for me but one that I intend to achieve.

“When you consider the London Marathon is a lot less distance, this is going to be some achievement for a novice who is getting on a bit.”

Mr Thompson is friends with Blues legend Kevin Beattie and decided to support the multiple sclerosis (MS) charity because of the help it has given to Mr Beattie's wife Maggie. He is aiming to raise £5,000.

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Mr Beattie, who played a starring role in Ipswich's FA Cup win over Arsenal in 1978 and played for England, said: “It's a fabulous thing Malcolm is doing.

“Maggie is in a wheelchair now and the charity has given her advice in the past, and they have a smashing website people can look at.

“Anything people can do to put something back into the charity is great.”

The plan is for Mr Thompson, who runs a Town supporters' club in Haverhill where Mr Beattie is president, to run from Haverhill to Hintlesham the day before Ipswich's last home game of the 2007/08 season.

He will run the final six miles on match day.

He said: “Kevin is a lifelong hero of mine and I am proud to be able to help him in this way.

“All I am asking is if people can be so kind and donate £1 each.

“If this can be done then the target will be easily reached. Whether people follow Ipswich Town or not, they can all help.”

Mr Thompson is hoping club chairman David Sheepshanks will welcome him, Mr Beattie and a representative from the MS Society on to the pitch after his run, just before the game's kick-off.

N To sponsor Mr Thompson, visit www.justgiving.com/northstander

N Are you going to great lengths for charity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

FastFacts: Multiple Sclerosis

N Around 85,000 people in the UK have MS

N The condition is the result of damage to a protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres in the nervous system. The damage interferes with messages between the brain and parts of the body, and results in the disabling condition

N There are a variety of symptoms, but few people will suffer from them all. They include bladder and/or bowel problems, fatigue, muscle spasms and stiffness, speech and/or swallowing difficulties and depression

Source: Multiple Sclerosis Society

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