A FORMER soldier from Northwich swapped uniforms this weekend to run in the 10th annual Mascot Grand National and raise money for charity.
Tony Rogers, 42, of Victoria Road, who doubles up as Tricky the Cat at the Northwich Vic’s Marston’s Arena on match days, took part in the one furlong - 220-yard - dash at Huntingdon Racecourse in Cambridgeshire on Sunday.
A total of 75 mascots competed in heavy rain and fierce winds, with Wacky Macky Bear from Saffron Walden FC emerging victorious.
But soggy moggy Tony, a Sergeant who served in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, wasn’t far behind.
“It was a good day,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve done it, I think I’ll have to get a bit fitter for next year! I’ve never run in the costume before. Going round schools dressed up is traumatic enough, but running the grand national is something else.”
The annual Mascot Grand National began in 1999 to raise money for the The Willow Foundation, a charity set up by Arsenal legend Bob Wilson to fund and organise special days for seriously ill people throughout the UK.
“I've managed to raise £375 so far,” said Tony. “But I’m feline optimistic we can make it £500!”
He added: “Tricky is now in training for a 10-mile sponsored walk through Delamere Forest in mid November, to raise money for the I Can children’s charity. I can’t wait!”