A group of Leicester Tigers legends are dusting off their boots – hiking, not rugby – in a bid to raise awareness and vital funds for Taylor Gough.
Darren Garforth, Darren Grewcock, Dusty Hare, Steve Kenney, Robert Tebbutt and Martin Whitcombe will be taking on the challenge of the almost 1,500 foot Nab Hill in Bradford on Thursday (August 6) to “do their bit” for the injured Tigers back-rower.
Gough was involved in a major road incident in June and is now in a fight to walk again, paralysed from the chest down, bed-ridden at Sheffield Spinal Unit.
Collectively, the sextet of ‘DROGLITES’ made 1,369 appearances for the club during their respective careers and – upon hearing about the injuries suffered by Gough – decided they couldn’t sit idly by, without lending a helping hand to the fundraising effort.
Whitcombe, who lives in Yorkshire and as recently as last month took on the hike with friends, rallied his former team-mates for a bit of “old school fundraising”.
“I know Taylor and speak with his dad quite often,” said Whitcombe, who is the father of up-and-coming Tigers front-rower James.
“It’s a bit old school fundraising, doing our bit to get some attention on Taylor’s JustGiving page.
“When your kids play together, you get to know people on the touchline… and you want to do what you can to try and help the family out.”
When asked about the challenge ahead, the former Tigers front-rower admitted it might involve some “huff and puff” from he and his fellow Leicester legends to get to the top.
“It’s a big hill and steady climb, it will take some huff and puff to get to the top,” he said.
However, while huffing and puffing, he said it would certainly involve some reminiscing of their playing days and, definitely, include a reward once the group reached the peak.
“I am sure it will involve a bit of banter on the way,” Whitcombe said
“All the old stories will come out I am sure!
“And, there will be a stand pie and some beers at the top… I’ll keep them in my bag, they’ll be safe in there.”
While the reward of a pint with old mates is motivation enough, Whitcombe said the ultimate goal was “awareness” for a fellow Tigers doing it tough.
“We want to get the word out to a wider audience, wherever it may be,” he said.
“If you spread the word, people are responsive.
“Whoever can give, whatever you can afford, it is important and soon swells the coffers.”
When asked about why they were taking on the challenge, Hare, the world record points-scorer, said this is what Leicester Tigers is all about.
“It’s about traditional rugby friendships and loyalties to your club,” said Hare.
“Taylor is a local boy, always gave a bit more on the training pitch and when he played.
“He would never let you down with his effort … and we need to do that now, for him.
“This is what we’re all about at Tigers, we rally around our own when they need it
“We want to make it as easy for Taylor and his family and help them, however we can.”
Once the hill is climbed, pint is downed and pie is eaten, the challenge will then be put to fellow ‘DROGLITES’ and current Tigers players, staff and supporters, as well as the wider rugby community, to “do a bit for Taylor” according to Whitcombe.
“When we are done, we will put the challenge to people to take on a walk or something, whatever they can, and join us in what we are saying is about doing a bit for Taylor,” added the former Tigers prop.
You can donate to Taylor’s JustGiving Page by CLICKING HERE.
Elsewhere, supporters and sponsors have shown their support for Taylor in recent weeks.
Tigers supporter, 12-year-old Christopher Hollis is raising money for Gough with a daily, golf challenge of 1,000 keepy-uppies.
Hear from Hollis about his efforts in an interview with BBC Leicester HERE.
Meanwhile, a fellow young fan, Samuel, raised almost £700 in a 19-hour gaming challenge last month and one of the club’s partners, Burleigh’s Gin, auctioned a one-off, signed bottle of Tigers Gin with the autograph of new superstar signing Nemani Nadolo.
Player sponsor, Spice Bazzar, has donated £1,000 to the fund and now aim to raise £5,000 with help from customers after pledging to donate £2 from every takeaway sale until August 18.
To donate to Taylor’s JustGiving Page CLICK HERE.