World Cup fundraisers get ball over the line after mammoth trek

The Northern Echo: (6986281) (6986281)

THREE men have achieved their goal of dribbling a football 1,966 km to the World Cup.

Adam Burns, David Bewick and Pete Johnston arrived in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on Sunday, having set off Mendoza, Argentina, more than two months ago.

Pulling their gear in golf caddies, they walked an average of 20 miles day in temperatures as high as 37 degree Celsius.

The longest day was a 32-mile, 12-hour stretch through the desert of San Luis in Argentina.

The walk, which involved crossing Uruguay, officially ended at the Beira-Rio stadium, one of the 12 World Cup stadiums.

Mr Burns, 27, who was born in Shotley Bridge, County Durham, said: "We had a day that we dubbed 'the day from hell' which was pretty grim and seriously got me questioning why we were doing this crazy thing.

?It was in the early days in Argentina, we had camped in a soy bean field in the middle of nowhere the night previous and had been hit by a very fierce thunder storm.

?We woke up to a very gloomy looking day, it was still raining and all of our belongings were drenched.

?The farm track that we were walking down was flooded so pushing our golf carts through thick mud and water was almost impossible, but we persevered as we had no other choice.

?It's been incredible, the one thing we will all remember is the people. We have been lucky enough to be taken in by Argentinians, Uruguayans and Brazilians who have showered us with food, wine and the warmest reception we could ever ask for.?

Mr Burns lived in Consett until he was four, and still has relatives in the area, but his family live in Suffolk.

He now lives in Sydney, Australia, where he works in advertising and public relations.

He is travelling with Middlesbrough-born Pete Johnston, 30, who lives in Guisborough, east Cleveland, and Dave Bewick, 31, who is from the Lake District and lives in Perth, Australia.

In Argentina, their friend Ben Olsen, 31, from Devon, joined them and in Uruguay they adopted a stray black Labrador, who they have named Jefferson Ramsey Moore after the group?s favourite England players.

The dog has now been reunited with his owner who got in touch with the men on Facebook.

The friends have raised about ?12,000 of their ?20,000 target for the J de V Arts Care Trust to build a well in Bahia, Brazil, which is suffering the worst drought in more than 50 years.

Mr Burns said: ?We have very mixed emotions on finishing. We are sad because the adventure is almost over, but we are happy that we don't have to pack our tents down and put our golf carts together.?

The lads have tickets to the England games against Italy and Costa Rica and plan to follow the team wherever they go in the tournament.

Mr Burns said: ?To be at World Cup and to actually see England play in places like Manaus is going to be incredible, so the score seems unimportant now, but I am sure that will change when we are clinging on to a 1-0 lead against Italy in the opener.?

Sponsor the men by visiting walktotheworldcup.com

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