The Toby Gribben Show Highlights


John May

Season 2023, Ep. 35

Liverpool's much-loved actor and comedian, John May, is set to embark on a 1,100-mile trek from Land's End to John o Groats, starting in Cornwall in the depths of winter on the 26th of January. He will have only his trusted backpack and will be wild camping along the way.

Throughout the walk, John will be joined by a number of famous friends, including mixed martial artist and former Cage Warriors Flyweight Champion, Molly McCann (Meatball Molly) and former professional boxing champion, Tony Bellew.

All the money raised will go to Weapons Down Gloves Up, a boxing initiative based on sports, education and employment. The WDGU programme works to get young people into employment, with a focus on those who are 16 years or older, and not in education or training.

This is achieved by engaging with local communities and running a successful boxing and MMA programme which is rolled out alongside an education programme with career-driven qualifications. The wider ambition of the initiative is to ensure young individuals are placed into full-time work, thereby taking them off the streets and into a promising future.

No matter the individual's background, positive or challenging, the WDGU programmes ensure that people choose the right pathway in life, away from the streets and into employment.

In the 12 months to March 2022, there were 49,027 knife crimes recorded in England & Wales, many involving young adults. That is equal to one every ten minutes. In the eight months from May to December 2022, there have been eight innocent women killed as a result of knife crime and violence, as well as one young girl who was murdered in Liverpool. John May and the team from WDGU are working to stop this cycle of violence.

With a total fundraising goal of £50,000, the challenge has already received phenomenal support, with the likes of Steven Gerrard sharing video messages of support on social media. To date, the GoFundMe page has raised over £1,000 before one step has even been taken.

As ambassadors of the initiative, Tony Bellew, the face of boxing, and Molly McCann, who represents the UFC world, will walk with John for a number of days. They have both also been drumming-up celebrity support, so that for a number of dates, John will have some famous faces by his side.

Covering an average of 15 miles a day, the challenge is set to be filmed in a weekly vlog style, so that supporters can keep up-to-date with John's antics. A separate weekly cinematic video will also be filmed so that the adventure remains well-documented, complete with celebrity interviews from each week. Furthermore, to keep local supporters and fans in the loop, John will be going live daily and posting updates every day too.

Giving up his home and his business, John May is ready to reset his life and embrace the trek across the country. Considering the challenge to be a celebration, his ambition is to bring together everything he has learned in his 40 years on this planet and transform his experiences into something with purpose.

John May said: "I think what Weapons Down Gloves Up do is fantastic because I really believe that boxing gyms are great for kids. Growing up, I saw kids that went to boxing gyms, and ones that didn't - and there was a difference. These kids from the boxing gyms had structure, discipline and respect. I believe it gives kids a lot more than you might expect.

The WDGU programmes are such a powerful way to get these kids off the streets. I think a lot of them find validation in gangs. They feel a sense of loyalty, but you can also get this sense of belonging to a family from your boxing gym too."

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