The Ellis Expedition set off from Southport today, on a 16,000km mission to reach the South Pole. 

The huge journey by players and supporters of Southport Rugby Football Club players and supporters has been inspired by much-loved club President Graham Ellis, who tragically died on Monday, aged 64. 

Dad-of-three Graham, who lived in Southport with wife Anne, was recently told by doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham that he would not be suitable for the liver transplant that he needed to save his life. 

He was due to launch the expedition in his name earlier today which gave him such huge pride. 

The Ellis Expedition is a virtual event which will see Southport RFC players and supporters of all ages running, walking and cycling their way, collectively, towards the 16,000km Southport to South Pole target. 

Graham Ellis being interviewed by Jimmy McCracken of BBC Radio Merseyside. Photo by Angus Matheson of Wainwright & Matheson Photography

Graham Ellis being interviewed by Jimmy McCracken of BBC Radio Merseyside. Photo by Angus Matheson of Wainwright & Matheson Photography

Graham wanted the event to raise money for the Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals Charity, and to raise awareness of his beloved rugby club. 

Col Toohey, who has organised the expedition, said: “As you will have heard, sadly Graham passed away earlier in the week – peacefully and at home, surrounded by his loved ones, to whom we send our deepest sympathies.

“When speaking with Graham in the build-up the Ellis Expedition, whilst his body was failing, his mind was still full of the joy and enthusiasm that we all know Graham had for Southport RFC.

“For me, a rugby club is not the patch of grass on which we spend our weekends, nor even the bar in which we share drinks and stories with friends and rivals alike.

“A rugby club is more than that, it is the community of people who take pride in donning the jersey or supporting from the sides and face adversity with a smile on their face. I’m proud to be part of this community.

Two young players from Southport Rugby Football Club launch The Ellis Expedition #TheEllisExpedition Photo by Angus Matheson of Wainwright & Matheson Photography

Two young players from Southport Rugby Football Club launch The Ellis Expedition #TheEllisExpedition Photo by Angus Matheson of Wainwright & Matheson Photography

 

“ Today marks the start of the Ellis Expedition – Taking us the 16,000km from Southport to the South Pole. In order to achieve this, it will need all of us to get our club colours on and hit the roads.

“I am delighted to hear so many of you are getting involved and I’m looking forward to seeing the way your helping cover the distance and raise funds – please do share your activities using #TheEllisExpedition

“It’s now our time to give our Club President a fitting send off and raise much needed monies for our superb Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals Charity. Good luck.”

How to get involved:

Step One: Download Strava

Step Two: Join our group (https://www.strava.com/clubs/Southport-RFC)

Step Three: Sign up to the challenge (https://www.challengehound.com/…/6f1cd4b0-b089-11ea-b34a-b1…)

Step Four: Connect with Strava

Step Five: Run, Walk, Cycle…

Remember to donate (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/southport-rfc)

For more details about The Ellis Expedition please visit: www.pitchero.com/clubs/southportrugbyunionfootballclub/ or email Colin Toohey at: col2e@hotmail.com or follow the Southport RFC page on Facebook

DO you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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