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Three Chorley FC legends have decided to swap their football boots for trainers, ready to step up and challenge themselves to a minimum of 1,000k throughout March.

Ex-Magpies Paul Jarvis, Sam Ashton and Andy Teague who all played a pivotal role in the club’s success over the years will be running and cycling over 31 days, hoping to raise £2 for every km completed whilst supporting local charities Inspire, Chorley Youth Zone and Rosemere Cancer Foundation.

Since the pandemic, the dedicated support from Inspire has been needed more than ever. Young people are struggling with school closures both academically and through their mental health with latest statistics suggesting over 50% of young people have developed anxiety around social interaction and more young people are feeling lonely, isolated and digitally worn out. Despite all the obstacles, the youth zone has been determined to support the town’s young people as the charity continues to be there for the local Chorley community.

This will be the first fundraising challenge Paul Jarvis has undertaken since he was diagnosed with cancer. Talking about his journey, he said: “To say it has been pretty traumatic is an understatement, but I had to keep strong and positive for the kids and my wife, Justine. I was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in May 2018. I had an operation to remove my testicle and single dose of chemotherapy which they advised as a precaution.

I was then fine for over a year, until the cancer came back in October 2019 when they found a large tumour in my abdomen. I then had to have nine weeks of chemotherapy. This reduced the tumour considerably, however they found in March last year that it had grown again and spread. A further 12 weeks of stronger chemotherapy during lockdown was needed, followed by four weeks of radiotherapy.

The chemotherapy and radiotherapy obviously takes its physical toll, but it has been just as draining mentally, especially having to have treatment in isolation during lockdown. Rosemere have been brilliant and are always at the end of the phone, using funding to improve the environment of the treatment rooms to make them a relaxing place to be. Based at Royal Preston Hospital, Rosemere helps cancer patients throughout Lancashire and I know the difference they make, especially after my own ordeal over the past few years.”

He added: “I really want to support these charities, who both provide life changing support and are available for families when they need them most. Every penny received goes towards helping improve the physical and mental well-being of young people and patients, which is so important. I was given the all clear just before Christmas, which was a massive relief. I’m now keen to live my life to the full and support others who might be in a similar situation in the future. This challenge certainly fits the bill!”

Sam Ashton joins Jarvis fundraising, who said: “As a group, we can’t wait to start and help two amazing charities. Inspire continues to be there for the young people and I know from talking to current Chorley FC goalkeeper Matt Urwin, how much they rely on the whole community fundraising, to do what they do. I’ve completed football sessions in the town, and they all talk about Inspire, which for some members is a critical lifeline – especially during these challenging times. Rosemere also means a lot to me personally, after losing my dad and wife’s nan to cancer.”

Andy Teague will make up the trio, who needs no introduction to non-league or Chorley FC fans. Looking back during his childhood, Teague said: “It would have been great to have something like Inspire when I was a child. Growing up, I was an avid Preston North End fan and used to go to every game with my dad but there wasn’t much help or support for young people back then. The need for positive role models for our young people is crucial and it is incredible to see the charity providing this amazing, sometimes lifesaving support to Chorley’s young people and their families.

As a carer, I’ve also seen first-hand how much people are struggling over the pandemic, so to provide crisis helplines, welfare calls and free healthy meals for families is unbelievable. During my last few years at Victory Park, it was wonderful to see the charity come to town and make a difference to the lives of so many young people. As players, we saw the impact Inspire was making first-hand and I am proud to support them in their ambitions to share skills, build confidence and create positive experiences for our next generation.”

He added: “This is a challenging time for everyone, especially local charities who have had to cancel many of their fundraising events. We know how important Inspire and Rosemere are to the local community and hopefully we can play our part in helping them continue their amazing work. The three of us hope this will unite Chorley supporters in donating, albeit from a distance, completing a challenge that will be a vital lifeline for these incredible organisations.”

To support the Chorley FC legends, you can donate via their fundraising page and help make a difference: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/chorleyfclegends

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