Hammers chef completes gruelling challenge

West Ham United chef Keith Ross has successfully completed a staggering 1, 000 mile cycle ride to every Premiership ground in the country - less than a year after suffering a life-threatening heart attack.

"Thankfully we got back in one piece!" Keith said. "We arrived back at Upton Park on Friday evening, which was pretty much on schedule.

"All in all, everything went to plan and we more or less kept to the schedule that had been planned. At times, it did drag on, and the parts of the route that we expected to be easier weren't that easy after all!

"The weather in the first week was brilliant, we really thought our luck was in. However, it got a lot colder in the second week and the weather really turned.

"The hardest day was our trip from Newcastle through Leeds to Sheffield, as the weather was unbearable with hailstones the size of tennis balls. And on the last two days, on our way back from Portsmouth, we were cycling against what felt like gale-force winds."

Keith had a great response from the other Premiership club as he and his cycling partner Dr Andrew Deaner, the cardiologist who carried out the emergency procedure which saved his life, carried out their challenge and raised around £11, 000 for the Heart Cells Appeal.

"All the clubs, with the exception of Arsenal, allowed us to go pitch-side for a photograph and presentation and we were really made to feel welcome, with some of the clubs donating some fantastic memorabilia for our charity auction," said Keith.

"It has been a massive success from the charity's point of view. We are currently up to around £11,000, and I still have more than £3,000 to add to that from other sponsorship donations."

Keith and Andrew's accomplishment will be celebrated at Upton Park this Friday at a black tie event. If you'd like to be part of the evening's dinner and entertainment alongside several former Hammers stars this Friday, March 30, tickets can be purchased at £75 each by calling Pat Gray or Antoinette Martin on 0208 983 2345 or emailing [email protected]

"We still have the proceeds of the dinner to come on Friday," Keith added. "While it is difficult to gauge how successful the auction of the memorabilia will be, I would say we are on course to hit the £40,000 mark.

"That was my ultimate target and, if we hit it, I will be over the moon. It has been a fantastic effort from everyone involved, and I am delighted that I decided to take part in the challenge.

"I'm also going to stick with the bike and hopefully raise more money for charity in the future. At the moment, though, I'm just looking forward to relaxing and enjoying some fishing over the Easter weekend…and I won't be cycling there!"

To read a full account of the cycle ride, written by Andrew, click here . And to support Keith and Andrew's achievements and help the Heart Cells Appeal you can send a cheque made payable to Heart Cells Appeal Fund and post it to: Heart of the Game Cycle Ride, Fundraising Office, London Chest Hospital, Bonner Road, London E2 9JX.