Thursday, 10 April 2008

Canary hero to climb Kilimanjaro

A former schoolmate of ex-Norwich City star Robert Green is joining the goalkeeper in a gruelling climb up Africa's highest mountain to raise money for charity.

Winston Gallagher, 28, was a friend of the former Canary number one at the City of Norwich School 12 years ago, and they have kept in touch since.

So when the West Ham and England goalkeeper was looking for someone to join him on his climb up Mount Kilimanjaro - through which he aims to raise £10,000 for vital humanitarian work - he turned to his childhood pal.

Mr Gallagher, who runs Alco-Call, a Norwich late night alcohol delivery service, said: “Rob has wanted to do something for a charity for a long time. But due to the very limited amount of time he gets off, he has never really had more than three weeks break at a time, and has always needed that time to rest before the next pre-season.

“But this year, with England's failure to qualify for the Euro Championships, he decided he'd take the extra time to get involved with a charity.

“He asked me to help him with the leg work of any project we took on, so I set up a few meetings and we spoke to some different charities before settling with AMREF (the African Medical and Research Foundation), which is the biggest African-based charity.”

The two friends are no strangers to spending time together and four years ago Mr Gallagher visited Greeno during the 2004 Euro championships in Portugal.

He was in America when his mate made his England debut and they have, with partners, been on holiday together to Dubai and Australia.

But neither of them has faced anything as daunting as this before.

Mr Gallagher, from Caernarvon Road, off Earlham Road, Norwich, added: “My mother's just moved to Crete so I will be practising climbing on few gorge walks there. But we know it's going to be hard work. It's not exactly a holiday, but it's worthwhile and for a good cause.”

The pair, who are looking for volunteers to join them on the June 20 climb, will spend three weeks visiting some of the poorest slums in Tanzania and Kenya, and taking part in the charity's health programme, which is using football to pass on life-saving health messages.

Greeno, who made 223 league appearances between the sticks for the Canaries before his 2006 £2m switch to West Ham, said: “I have never been much of a beach person. I'm very proud to be raising much-needed funds for AMREF by climbing Kilimanjaro. AMREF do some great work in Africa.”

To sponsor the team, visit .

There is room for 10 people to join them on the climb, but they each need to raise £4000 in sponsorship. If you are up for the challenge, physically fit and can fundraise a minimum of £4,000 between now and June then get in touch with AMREF UK's fundraising team on 020 7269 5520 or email Further information is available on

Evening News 24

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