Foundation's Great Wall trip 'absolutely incredible'

The Albion Foundation have led an expedition of volunteers to the Great Wall of China to raise a record total for the charity.

The 20-strong group tackled over 50 kilometres of challenging terrain to clock up more than £100,000 for the Club's official charity.

In their number was Baggies legend Brendon Batson, who returned to the UNESCO World Heritage Site for the first time since walking a section with his late friends and team-mates Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis, during Albion's historic tour of China in 1978.

Cyrille's wife Julia and daughter Michelle joined Brendon for the pilgrimage to honour the great man following his passing earlier this year.

Fundraiser-extraordinaire 'Blind Dave' Heeley also made the trip with his family by his side as the group collected money to provide life-changing opportunities for the people who benefit from the Foundation's work in the local community.

"It's been absolutely incredible, to be honest," said 'Blind Dave'.

"We've done a couple of hills today which believe you me have took it out of all of us I'm guessing, but we've all pulled each other through.

"There's the banter, there's the laughter, there's the joking, there is the hard work but that's what pulls us through."

The trip provided an opportunity for Batson to relive the post-season tour that he had been on whilst playing for Albion four decades ago.

"It's just a pleasure," he said.

"It's a real privilege actually to be here and to say that I was here 40 years ago."

"This is, as I say, it's a good crowd, we all get on, which is a help and it's been great fun."

Brendon's former teammate Cyrille Regis had been invited to go on the walk before he sadly passed away earlier this year, but his wife, Julia, walked the wall in his memory.

"It's been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," she said.

"I achieved something that I didn't think I could, especially at the start of today."

"When I saw those sheer drops either side of me, I didn't think that I would get through the day, but I have."

Julia wasn't the only fundraiser walking the wall for Cyrille, with his daughter Michelle also heading out to the world famous landmark to honour him.

"Albion are very giving," she said.

"They have been like a second family since dad passed away and they opened it up to the family and it was just an opportunity that I couldn't miss."

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