A devoted Notts County football club supporter has carried his father’s ashes on a 160-mile walk to be at the club’s last away game of the season. John Tennyson completed the five-day journey despite battling blisters and a swollen foot, and ended up finishing it on crutches after spraining his ankle on the last day. Tennyson’s father, Darryl, passed away from cancer last May. After spending the past 40 years travelling the country to watch the Magpies, the 51-year-old came up with the idea of taking his football-mad dad on one last hurrah. He wrapped Darryl’s ashes in a Notts County FC bag and put it into his rucksack before setting off from his home in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, to Maidstone, Kent.
Tennyson spent 12 hours a day walking before sleeping in hotels funded by fellow Notts County fans. He stopped at Leicester, Northampton, Dunstable and London before reaching Maidstone for match day on 22 April. The five-day venture was the hardest thing he had ever done, both mentally and physically, Tennyson said. During a break in the pub without his dad, he looked at the remaining fixtures on the boozer’s TV screen and decided to walk to Maidstone. He made a promise to take his father and the plan snowballed from there.
Tennyson had never done anything like this before but was determined to do it for his dad. He revealed that the hardest part was not having paths on some of the route so he had to walk on busy roads. Two days into the journey, Tennyson sprained his ankle but was determined to carry on. He finally arrived at Gallagher Stadium with the grounds showing a blown-up image of the father and son in their kit.
John said: “Walking to the ground was unbelievable. There were so many emotions. Loads of supporters knew Dad. He was absolutely mad about County and he even had a narrowboat on the Trent painted in the club colours. And Maidstone United were absolutely amazing. I cannot thank them enough; they did so much for me. I was mentally and physically drained from it all but so happy to have made it. There were a few tears.” In the end, Notts County won the National League match 5-2.