Blind footballers near end of 120-mile Wembley walk

A group of blind footballers from West Bromwich are set for the final leg of their gruelling 120-mile challenge walking from Wembley to The Hawthorns stadium.

The group are raising money for The Albion Foundation, the charitable arm of West Bromwich Albion, and are due to receive a heroes’ reception when the Baggies take on Preston on Saturday.

Also taking part in the walk is foundation director Rob Lake, who is wearing a blindfold throughout to experience what the blind walkers feel.

On Friday morning, the walkers set off from Warwick and reached Birmingham city centre about 17:30 BST.

They are due to arrive at The Hawthorns on Saturday lunchtime ahead of the Championship season finale.

"It's been a proper challenge," said Mr Lake.

"I don't think anybody expected it to be as tough as it is. The hardest thing has been the terrain.

"It's ok when you are on the roads, but there's a lot of canals, which obviously reduces the distance, but with the weather we've had it's been more of a tough mudder than a walk at times.

"And it feels like you are walking through treacle."

Added to the conditions underfoot, Mr Lake has also been unable to see where he has going, having chosen to wear a blindfold.

"What I've realised is how important conversation is," he said.

"Without that, all you have is the pain, there's no visual stimulus obviously."

Mr Lake said walking with a blindfold made him appreciate what he has in his daily life "one million per cent".

"It gives you a slap in the face," Mr Lake added.

"We bitch and moan about the most stupid things, like we can't get a phone signal.

"I've known Dave [Heeley] for about 15 years now and he is just a ray of sunshine with his positivity.

"I wanted to appreciate it, to celebrate it, it's not about feeling sorry for people who've got an impairment.

"It's just to say 'wow', give us all a kick up the backside and show we are very, very fortunate.

"As tough as this has been, every four to six miles, I take my blindfold off, have a drink and take a look around. That doesn't happen for them."

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