A FUNRAISING Halesowen musician is taking his trombone on a charitable trip as he performs in 52 cities in 62 hours in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Mark Sharman is part of a quintet from the Salvation Army band who are attempting the sleepless cross-country journey – where they will visit a sports ground at each stop – later this month.

The group, which is also made up of performers Nicola Redhead, Andrew Dickinson, Darren Shelby and Gavin Lamplough, will begin their three-day challenge at 8am on Saturday, August 26, at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham, before finishing off 62 hours later at Villa Park.

On their travels, the group will stop off to perform at a number of famous sporting venues, including Headingley, St James’ Park, Aintree and even Wembley.

Mark said: “The main reason behind the trip was that a couple of us have been badly affected by cancer over the past few years. Some of our close family members either suffer from it or have passed away because of cancer.

“It is very close to our hearts, but rather than just saying how bad it is, why not get out there and do something that could make a difference.”

The challenge comes five years on from when the group visited all 92 football league grounds in just 92 hours, again playing their instruments at each venue.

With the trip five years ago we didn’t expect it to be the success that it was,” Mark said. “The amount of awareness we were able to raise for the charity was enormous and the support we received as we went around the grounds was phenomenal.

“As soon as we had completed it we knew we had to do something again.

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“We wanted to do the same type of thing, but we didn’t want to go round the football league grounds, so this time we’ve decided to open it up to different sports. We’re going to cricket grounds, rugby stadiums, racecourses, and we’re even going to Oxford and Cambridge University’s rowing clubs.

“We’re hoping to play our instruments at every stop, and so far about 30 of the venues have responded to say we can play there. Each day another venue contacts us, and the support they have given to us is overwhelming.”

For more information about the challenge, including the route which the group is taking, or to support the quintet and donate to Cancer Research UK, visit www.bcb525262.co.uk.

Mark added: “We’re going to be awake for 62 hours straight. We would have loved to do it in 52 hours to keep the symmetry, but unfortunately we just couldn’t create a route that would make it logistical.

“People say it’s easy driving around cities, but we found out last time how tough it really is just to stay awake for that long, let alone continuing driving.

“The excitement really is beginning to build and with all the positive responses we are getting from people is just making is even more desperate to get out there and complete the challenge.”