John Giles leads a team of 600 charity walkers to raise funds for grassroots football

Former Ireland international intends to help worthwhile football projects across the country as part of the 'Walk of Dreams' event
John Giles led a team of 600 strong walkers in Dublin as part of a charity initiative to raise funds for grassroots football projects across the country.

The 71-year old, who started the John Giles Foundation, intends to raise more than €380,000 with the 'Walk of Dreams' event in order to help small clubs improve their club facilities. He was joined on the one-mile trek around the Aviva Stadium by former Ireland star Ray Houghton, FAI chief executive John Delaney and singer Dickie Rock.

"This shows the power of the football family to come out in their droves and raise much-needed funds for clubs and community projects through the foundation," Giles told the Irish Independent.

Along with the signature walk in Dublin there were 19 other events held across the country by local football clubs who support the project. Giles' aim is to promote football in the community as a means for social change and, in particular, support clubs in working class areas.

A charity match was held at the Aviva Stadium after the charity walk was complete with 40 hand-picked schoolboy players taking part.

"This is an incredibly important event. We're out here today to raise as much money as possible and we're right behind John and his idea is to unite Irish football," said Delaney.

Giles hopes to beat last year's tally of €360,000 with a record sum for this year's walk.