A football fan has completed a walk from Liverpool to Glasgow to raise funds for Liverpool Football Therapy.

33-year-old Will Finn completed the challenge in aid the Merseyside-based football organisation which supports mental health of participants.

Will, from West Derby, began the daunting trip on February 1 and arrived in Glasgow city centre eight days later, walking over 210 miles.

He described the journey as “gruelling” and said the exposure and support he has received since starting the walk has been “overwhelming”.

Will said: “I went into it with no preparation. I decided ten days before that I was going to do it. But I thought it was going to be really easy, 40 to 50 miles per day, I can do that.

“I was hoping to get past Preston on my first day. It was about half nine at night and I was still outside Preston and I thought ‘this is going to be a lot harder than I thought’.”

He said reaching Glasgow was emotional but rather than feeling a sense of achievement he was simply relieved to be finished and to be able to get back to his family.

“I was missing my children. Even though all I’ve heard is that people are so proud of me and it’s a great achievement, for me it’s that I’ve done what needed to be done.

“I understand it’s a big accomplishment because if it was common people would do it all the time, but for me it was a necessity to save the programme.”

Liverpool Football Therapy

Will is raising money for Liverpool Football Therapy, a project started in 2019 by Colin Dolan in an attempt to support those with mental ill health.

Liverpool Football Therapy uses exercise and social interaction to help treat mental illness by hosting small-sided football sessions for adults affected by such issues.

Will says the money raised will go towards hiring pitches and running activities, as Liverpool Football Therapy is a non-profit, voluntary organisation which relies on donations to keep it running.

He spoke about the importance of the group to himself and the community in helping to support those with mental ill health and aiding in their recovery and therapy.

He said “It’s priceless. You’re with a lot of like-minded people who are going through a lot of the same struggles so instantly you’ve got a support network.

“It’s not just good to get out for your mental health, it’s a safe place for anyone to come along. They’ll be made to feel welcome and part of the family straight away.

A group for everyone

Anyone who needs support can join Liverpool Football Therapy sessions, with no restrictions on ability, gender, or background, and no need for a professional diagnosis or referral.

“Anyone’s welcome. If you’ve got a heartbeat, you’re welcome. Doesn’t matter where you’re from, your ethnicity, your background. There’s no barriers, it’s a family,” said Will.

As the football sessions are run by volunteers and rely on donations, the cost of living crisis and rising pitch hire prices have become an obstacle to the organisation’s future.

“We used to run four sessions but because of funding it has gone down to two. We get between 20 and 30 people at each session.

“Not everyone is well enough to make it every week but our WhatsApp group runs 24/7. We all connect and help each other out.”

Will’s exploits have so far raised over £1,600 for Liverpool Football Therapy. The group are hosting another fundraiser this Friday with a “Spinathon” at Liverpool John Moores University.

If you would like to support their cause then you can donate here: bit.ly/3E1vC2h

(Featured image courtesy of Will Finn)