Friend of Ipswich Town great Kevin Beattie completes mammoth 311-mile walk

At the Bobby Robson statue having completed the gruelling walk Picture: MALCOLM THOMPSON

At the Bobby Robson statue having completed the gruelling walk Picture: MALCOLM THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

A friend of Kevin Beattie’s has completed a mammoth 311-mile walk to help set up a foundation in the Ipswich Town legend’s name.

Kevin Beattie pictured against Aris Salonika in the UEFA Cup at Portman Road in September 1980

Kevin Beattie pictured against Aris Salonika in the UEFA Cup at Portman Road in September 1980 - Credit: Archant

Malcolm Thompson and a friend set off from Brunton Park, Carlisle – Beattie’s hometown – on September 27 before travelling the hundreds of miles back to Ipswich, arriving at Portman Road on October 10.

The walk was originally organised to raise funds for The Beat Goes On campaign – which was launched to fund a statue of the Town great outside Portman Road.

But the Covid-19 pandemic meant the walk had to be rescheduled and after the statue campaign reached its target, it was decided that money raised through the walk would be used to set up a Kevin Beattie Foundation.

The not-for-profit organisation will support as many charities as possible in the name of the former Blues defender, who died suddenly in 2018, aged 64.

At Brunton Park, home of Carlisle United FC, at the beginning of the walk Picture: MALCOLM THOMPSON

At Brunton Park, home of Carlisle United FC, at the beginning of the walk Picture: MALCOLM THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

MORE: You’ve done it! Kevin Beattie statue appeal hits target thanks to Blues fansMr Thompson, who lives in Brampton, Cambridgeshire, said although he had trained for the walk, the iconic hills on the Yorkshire Dales were “a nightmare”.


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The pair had no support team during the walk and carried heavy rucksacks on their backs.

“I trained to walk miles but never did any hill walking training so doing the Yorkshire Dales in the first three days was a nightmare,” he said.

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He also completed the walk alone due to the retirement of his friend on medical grounds.

The logo for the Kevin Beattie Foundation. Picture: KEVIN BEATTIE FOUNDATION

The logo for the Kevin Beattie Foundation. Picture: KEVIN BEATTIE FOUNDATION - Credit: Archant

“My fellow walker had to retire as we got to Lincoln due to medical reasons but we both agreed for me to carry on alone,” he said. “I met Kenny Sharpe in Lincoln, who was Kevin’s first room mate at Ipswich, and this gave me a great lift.

“Walking along the Leeds to Liverpool canal on way to Bradford and was the best walk on the journey although the A16 and A17 were awful and dangerous in parts.

“I met some awesome people along the way who as soon as I mentioned Ipswich Town, knew Sir Bobby Robson and Kevin Beattie, they’re so well-known.”

Setting up the foundation has been a complex project but money raised from the walk and a planned ‘Evening with...’ event means it is nearly over the line.

At the Yorkshire Dales Picture: SUPPLIED BY MALCOLM THOMPSON

At the Yorkshire Dales Picture: SUPPLIED BY MALCOLM THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

Mr Thompson added: “We’ve got lots planned and exciting times ahead and next year we hope to surprise Town fans with one special event.”

To find out more about the Kevin Beattie Foundation and donate, click here to visit the website or email here.

Arriving in Bradford Picture: SUPPLIED BY MALCOLM THOMPSON

Arriving in Bradford Picture: SUPPLIED BY MALCOLM THOMPSON - Credit: Archant

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