LIFELONG friends, Scott Elliott and Gary Sherrard, are two quare big cubs, but they are dwarfed by the trek they are taking on in aid of four deserving charities.
The pair have played rugby for the Omagh Accies, so they are no strangers to putting their bodies through the mill.
But, at the start of July, they will tackle their toughest challenge yet when they begin ‘2 Cubs 15 Clubs’. Over the course of a week they will walk to 15 rugby clubs across Ulster, covering around 200 miles.
In doing so, the duo hope to raise plenty of funds for Parkinson’s Disease, Marie Curie, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the IRFU Charitable Trust.
On the first day, Sunday, July 4, the boys will ‘boot it’ the 34 miles from Omagh Accies Rugby Club to City of Derry.
Speaking to the Ulster Herald this week, Scott and Gary explained what possessed them to undertake a trek almost equivalent to that of walking to Dublin and back.
“First and foremost it is for the charities, that comes before overcoming any personal challenge, or proving any points to ourselves, although the sense of achievement will be immense if we make it,” said 29-year-old Scott.
“Myself and Gary both have very personal connections to these charities. Gary’s auntie and grandfather were affected by motor neurone disease, and I have a relative who was diagnosed with Parkinsons in their 20s and unfortunately we’ve both had loved ones cared for by Marie Curie nurses.”
In times of hardship, having a close friend to lean on can be the only thing that gets you through, and the two boys have forged a strong friendship through the years.
Scott said, “It was in Asda, or maybe even one of its predecessors, where the nadir of a child’s life – the tedium of grocery shopping – initially forced us to start chatting to each other, as our parents marauded endlessly up and down the aisles.
“Things went on from there and as time drifted on we never strayed too far from each other, until one day I stopped in for a reality check, looked over my shoulder, and there was Gary walking beside me, the two of us hiking across a desert plane in Vietnam together. Mad how things turn out.”
Now the vast expanse of Vietnamese sand gives way to the long laybys of Ulster, as the boys make more memories that will feature prominently in the scrapbook of their lives, and maybe this page will feature a few famous faces too.
Gary (28) said, “The IRFU have said that we may be joined by a couple of rugby legends. It’s been rumoured that Trevor Ringland might join us for a stage, and Jan Cunningham is another name that has been bounced about.
“I’d love these guys to show their support for two reasons: Firstly, I love rugby, and these two are not far from legendary, so the fan in me is excited by the prospect of meeting them. But secondly, and more importantly, they could shine a spotlight on what we are doing and more attention means more donations – that is what it is all about!”
Hopefully a few legends will turn out and accompany the two cubs, but whether they do or not, they have the support of the Accies, their friends and family, and the rest of the community too. Get behind the boys and donate a few pound.
• To donate visit their Virgin Money Giving page which can be found at their Facebook page, 2 cubs 15 clubs. If you want to donate cash or join the boys for a few miles, contact Gary (07514 437116) or Scott (07749 136058) directly.