DOZENS of determined walkers have begun a 100-mile trek from Anfield Stadium to Barrow in memory of a dad-of-three who died of cancer.

Thirty walkers set off on their journey from Liverpool to Barrow yesterday morning to commemorate the life of avid football fan Gareth ‘Nico’ Nicholson.

The 49-year-old from Barrow, who worked for Northern Rail, died in November after battling cancer for several months. He leaves behind his three children, Jenna, Bethan and Harry.

On the week which would have been his 50th birthday, Mr Nicholson’s family members, friends, junior football coaches and fellow Liverpool FC supporters have come together for a mammoth walk in his memory.

After three months of organisation and £10,000 of donations, the group set off on their three-day trek yesterday morning.

Barry Fitzsimmons, who was friends with Mr Nicholson’s for 35 years, is among the group of walkers.

He said: “The walkers are all ready but nervous. Gareth would have been immensely proud.

“One common theme from the starting point at Anfield was the overriding affection for Gareth.

“Everyone was chatting about the old times with fondness and laughing at past events.

“Before setting off on the walk we had a chance to walk around the stadium while taking time to reflect about a life sadly taken too soon. Gareth was held in such high esteem by his friends that there is a picture of him on the wall at Anfield.”

The walk will finish tomorrow, with the final leg of the journey commencing at 7.30pm from the Wellington pub in Dalton. The finishing point is Barrow railway station where Gareth worked. The walkers will be accompanied by the Furness Rovers U14 football team and the group is encouraging as many friends as possible to walk with them from Dalton to Barrow on Saturday evening.

The walk is raising funds for St Mary’s Hospice as well as a new strip for Mr Nicholson’s son Harry’s junior football team which would display his dad’s name.

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