Gareth Lang and Colin Toohey (both kneeling) from Southport Rugby Football Club launch The Ellis Expedition #TheEllisExpedition Photo by Angus Matheson of Wainwright & Matheson Photography

Over £8,000 has been raised in just three days in memory of an inspirational sports club President in Southport. 

Graham Ellis, the much-loved supremo at Southport Rugby Football Club, tragically died on Monday, at the age of 64. 

The Dad-of-three, married to wife, Anne, for over 30 years, had been due this week to launch The Ellis Expedition. The challenge calls on players and supporters at Southport to run, walk or cycle 16,000km in a virtual trek from Southport to the South Pole. 

Such is Graham’s inspiration to all those who knew him, that they have already covered over 5,000km already, raising over £8,000 in the process for the Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals Charity since setting off on Wednesday (July 1). 

Graham praised the care he received from NHS staff as he waited in hope for a liver transplant at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool over the past few weeks. He told how NHS staff had twice saved him when he was minutes from death when he collapsed in recent years. 

Read More: Southport Rugby Club icon Graham Ellis launches South Pole expedition to raise money for NHS

He also wanted the event to raise awareness of his beloved rugby club. 

Col Toohey, who has organised the expedition, said: “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.

Southport Rugby Football Club president Graham Ellis, in his club colours

Southport Rugby Football Club president Graham Ellis, in his club colours

“I am delighted to hear so many people are getting involved and I’m looking forward to seeing the way you’re 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.”

#TheEllisExpedition | 100KM Ride ?

Posted by Southport RFC on Friday, 3 July 2020

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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