ON October 8, 2016 a very special charity walk will commence in Merthyr Tydfil, with the group destined for Paradise.
Jonathan Thomas was a proud Welshman with a passion for the Hoops. In October last year, at the age of just 30, he tragically lost a brave fight with cancer, having suffered from Ulcerative Colitis from the age of 18. In a beautiful, touching moment, he married Sian, the love of his life, the day before he passed away.
JT, as he was fondly known, played for a team in Wales and was coached by a Celtic fan from Belfast. After moving to Newcastle in 2006, he joined the Tyneside No.1 Celtic Supporters’ Club and got involved in a variety of fundraising events for Celtic FC Foundation and other charities.
In JT’s memory, his widow Sian and their friends will be taking part in ‘A Walk for Jonathan – from the Valleys to Paradise’, from Dowlais Catholic Club, Merthyr Tydfil to Celtic Park in Glasgow – a distance of 352 miles. They are hoping people join in for stretches of the route and it looks as if at least 30 friends and family of Jonathan’s will be taking part on the first day.
The aim is to assist the work of two charities very close to Jonathan’s heart – Celtic FC Foundation and Crohn’s & Colitis UK.
Sian said, “It is nice that the walk starts in Merthyr Tydfil where he was born and brought up but it is wonderful that it ends at Celtic Park where we can at least bring his memory back to a place he loved.
“He totally got what Celtic stood for, he loved what the club was all about. It was about much more than the football.”
Another key participant is Iain McGovern of the Tyneside No.1 CSC – a close friend of Jonathan’s and a member of Celtic FC Foundation’s Supporters’ Committee.
Remembering Jonathan, he said: “He loved what Celtic was about. Like me, he believed that Celtic FC Foundation was the core of the club.
“He took part in a charity walk from Newcastle to Glasgow in 2009, a bike ride from Swansea to Glasgow and a walk of the West Highland Way among others, all to support the Celtic way, proud that his club was formed for charitable purposes.
“He suffered because of his illness but he was a very fit guy. A great friend.”
Sian is aware that she faces an emotional anniversary but said: “The walk gives us all something positive to focus on. Jonathan meant so much to so many people and he loved to be involved in charity and with Celtic. I know he would have been so proud to see this happening.”
The Walk for Jonathan is scheduled to draw to a close on Saturday, October 22 – a poignant date which marks the first anniversary of JT’s passing.
Sian, Iain and the rest of the group hope it is a fitting tribute to an extraordinary young man. God bless JT, YNWA.
To support the efforts and Sian, Iain and the team, you can donate HERE.