A 58-YEAR-OLD Newport County AFC fan walked more than 20 miles from Bristol to Rodney Parade to watch them play to help raise funds and awareness for former County legend Jason Bowen, who is living with Motor Neurone Disease.

John Hughes first got involved with the team when he was a hospitality volunteer working both at Spytty and Rodney Parade.

He said: "I became involved after Peter Beadle got the manager's job as Peter has previously helped me with a breast cancer event.

"I loved my time at County working with such amazing dedicated people who were so kind to me and I still pop over to watch as a fan.

"I was devastated by Jason's news so decided to walk over for the Stevenage match to raise the charity page profile and hopefully get some more donations.

South Wales Argus: John Hughes and Julian Alsop on the Severn Bridge during their walk from Bristol to Rodney Parade to help raise funds for former County player Jason Bowen, who is living with MND

John Hughes and Julian Alsop on the Severn Bridge during their walk from Bristol to Rodney Parade 

"I've done the same walk twice before to County matches and we were lucky yesterday re: great weather."

Mr Hughes was "overjoyed" when another County legend Julian Alsop contacted him and offered to join him on the walk. Alsop played for County between 2006 and 2008.

He said: "The walk was more than 20 miles and we were both feeling it in the last few miles!

"We were both so touched that Jason was waiting for us in Langstone as we hit Newport! We arrived at Rodney Parade just in time for kick off and thanks go to Joe and Colin in hospitality for looking after us as we staggered in!"

Jason Bowen, who was a winger and was capped twice by Wales, made his debut for County in 2004, going on to play just shy of 150 games for the Exiles and scoring 48 goals.

South Wales Argus: Former County star Jason Bowen battling motor neurone disease fundraiser reveals (Image: UGC)

Jason Bowen

Throughout his career he amassed some 588 appearances across all the sides he played for - scoring 129 goals. He also featured for Swansea, Birmingham, Southampton, Reading and Cardiff during his career.

He made his international debut in a friendly against Estonia in 1994 and then playing in a 7-1 defeat by the Netherlands two years later.

Bowen ended his footballing career some 10 years ago at Llanelli in the Welsh league.

A GoFundMe fundraising page has been set up for Bowen, which states the 50-year-old was diagnosed with MND in March 2021 “after feeling weakness and twitching in his arm”.

A statement on the page reads: “When we first discovered that Jason had MND tears were shed, anger expressed, and a feeling of total and utter despair set in.

“However, despite such negative emotions and experiences, these past 18 months since diagnosis have also shown us the power of positivity, friendship, love and community as friends, family and colleagues have all pulled together to help.

“Jason’s family’s attitude is amazing. They are strong, loving and supportive. They are not giving up and (are) looking for any treatments that will help Jason now and in the future.

“The main objective of our fundraising is to provide financial support to cover Jason’s ongoing medical costs.

"These include holistic treatments, supplements, daily living aids, hydrotherapy and specialist neurophysiology at the wonderful Morello Clinic in Langstone.

“This will also enable us to explore new avenues to help Jason and his family.”

To view the fundraiser to support Jason Bowen and his family, head to gofundme.com/f/jason-bowens-motor-neurone-disease-treatment