Duo's cup trek

IPSWICH Town will be keeping their fingers crossed that Seb Blair and Kirsty Clark become surrogate Blues fans over the next few months.They are following the FA Cup from Wembley to Wembley to raise money for charity, and will be at Portman Road for tonight's third-round replay against Chester City.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town will be keeping their fingers crossed that Seb Blair and Kirsty Clark become surrogate Blues fans over the next few months.

They are following the FA Cup from Wembley to Wembley to raise money for charity, and will be at Portman Road for tonight's third-round replay against Chester City.

The intrepid pair will then follow the winners into the fourth round against Swansea - and continue along the same route until they reach the newly-built Wembley stadium in May.

Their trek began on August 18 with an extra preliminary round clash between Combined Counties League Wembley and Hellenic League Thame United, and they are now half way through their adventure.

So far they have covered over 6,000 miles, witnessed 11 games over nine rounds and seen 32 goals.

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They organised the trip to raise money for Mencap Sport.

Seb, 34, and his wife Lisa set up The Orange Rose Trust in 2006 in memory of their daughter Emily, who was born prematurely having died in the womb.

The pair have chosen Mencap, the UK's leading learning disabilities charity, as the charity to which they will donate all funds from the trust in their inaugural fundraising year.

A management trainer and consultant, Seb is a fanatical and perennially disappointed Tranmere Rovers fan.

Kirsty, who is Seb's sister-in-law, is a 32-year-old fitness instructor and gym manager who supports West Ham - and reached the Cup final last season with the Hammers.

Her uncle Michael is a Norwich City supporter and has Downs Syndrome.

“He needs 24 hour care,” said Kirsty.

“We feel passionately that people with a learning disability and their families and carers should have access to the support they need in order to lead a normal family life.

“The work Mencap does is often life-changing.”

Looking back on their adventures so far, Seb said: “We have met some passionate fans and continue to be amused by characters we meet.

“These include a guy who takes pictures of corner flags, a married couple who only attend non-league matches on Fridays and a woman who always parks on double yellow lines to bring her club good luck.

“The FA Cup is magical and we hope to raise the profile of Mencap and raise as much money as possible.”

The pair are covering all logistical costs for the venture themselves, including tickets and transport, so as not to detract from the funds raised.

To follow Seb and Kirsty's adventure and to make an online donation to Mencap log-on to www.justgiving.com/everyroundofthecup.

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