A football fan behind a fund for a veterans’ charity has high hopes they can make it to £1million thanks to the marathon efforts of a former Rangers legend.

It was 2007 when Tom Clark came up with the idea to raise some money for Erskine.

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Tom, from Renfrew, had spent years driving past the charity in Bishopton, and decided he wanted to do his bit to help the residents living there.

With a £1,000 target and the hope they would be able to take a group of residents to Ibrox for the day, Tom was delighted when it took just weeks to become a reality.

Now 12 years later, Tom and his group of supporters are set to break £1million in fundraising - having already raised £975,000.

They have signed up former Rangers player and St Mirren manager Alex Rae to run the London Marathon to help bring in the final £25,000.

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Tom - who is secretary of the Rangers Supporters Erskine Appeal - told the Express: “We had no idea that we would end up where we are today To have Alex on board is just fantastic.

“We had heard him mention on the radio that he was keen to do a marathon and we decided to jump at the chance and try and get him on board.”

Having grown up Renfrew, Tom regularly passed the veteran’s charity and one day he decided to go in and have a look around.

This prompted the launch of the group who have since funded a number of projects for the residents including a Namaste room and a Reminiscence room for residents with dementia.

They also have supporters as far as Australia, America and Spain who help boost the fundraising.

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Tom, 50, added: “We started out wanting to take 12 guys to the football at Ibrox and give them dinner and a wee dram and bring them back.

“We were astonished at how quickly we managed to get to the £100 and it has just grown arms and legs every years since.

“It has just been fantastic to see some of the projects it has help make happen.

“The Namaste room is a calming place for residents to go before they pass away and the reminiscence room is kitted out to look like something from the 50s as it can help comfort dementia
patients.”

Alex is now in training for the London Marathon, which is set to take place on April 29.

Alex Rae in the dugout as St Mirren boss
Alex Rae in the dugout as St Mirren boss

And the former Gers star - who played at Ibrox from 2004–2006 - says he can’t wait to lace up his trainers.

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He said: “This will be my first marathon and it is a privilege to be running it for Erskine.

“They are a terrific charity and I feel this is my way to give something back.

Alex McLeish and Alex Rae together at Rangers 10 years ago

“I am following a 20 week training programme and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

His efforts have also gained support from the veterans’ charity - which helps care for 1000 veterans from all over Scotland.

Head of fundraising and communications, Sara Brannerman said: “We are delighted that Alex has chosen to support Erskine.

“We wish him the very best with his training and on the big day.

“We will definitely be cheering him on up here in Scotland.”

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