Gary Tedford lives in Glasgow and said he has followed the Reds when he was a teenager, after he said he ‘chose the team’.
The 39-year-old says he travels down to Barnsley for the home games and travels for away games and has become ‘a bit of a local celebrity in Barnsley’ as he stands out with his Glaswegian accent. He said he ‘has a lot of love for the town’ and has gathered even more since he got involved with the Liam Legacy around two and a half years ago. The Liam Jones Legacy group was set up in memory of Grimethorpe man Liam who took his own life at the age of 24 in May 2018.
“The thing is, I didn’t actually know Liam,” said Gary. “I run this group called Tykes Talk and someone got in contact with me about putting a post up in tribute to Liam, then I ended up in contact with Laura (Copeland) and it went from there. The group was set up within two days and it has been running ever since. I run a lot of the Facebook side of it.
“Mental health means a lot to me, I struggle myself with depression, so I wanted to set myself a challenge.”
Gary will be aiming to ride from Glasgow to Oakwell on the first home game next season, tackling 250 miles over three days.
“It’ll be a great motivator but I’ll also be fundraising for three different mental health charities,” said Gary. “One of those will be the Liam Jones Legacy, Barnsley Samaritans and Men Matter Scotland. I chose Barnsley Samaritans as they are one of the main organisations for mental health but they often get overlooked now because there are so many other groups out there. I also wanted to add Men Matter Scotland as because I’m Scottish I want to do something for an organisation here too.
“I’m not exactly the most healthy and smoke about 40 fags a day so this ride will be a challenge for sure.”
A fundraising page has been set up for Gary’s ride, which he believes will be on the first or second weekend of August, depending on the timing of the first home game for Barnsley FC.
He is aiming to raise £1,500 but his bike and equipment alone for the ride will cost him around £1,000.
“They’re all great organisations to raise money for,” said Gary. “Mental health is different for everyone and it affects everyone in different ways.
“I’ve always had this love of Barnsley since I just picked the team when I was younger and have been following them since about 1995.
“Since telling people I’m doing this they have been very supportive and a lot of people want to cycle the last leg of the journey with me.
“It’s just putting everything into place now.”
To donate to Gary’s fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/f/scotland-to-oakwell-bike-ride