Middlesbrough’s Tony Pulis and Derby County’s Rory Delap join forces in epic fundraising challenge

Tony Pulis and Rory Delap

With the Championship play offs kicking off this weekend, two supporters of The Donna Louise could potentially see their clubs going head to head in the battle for promotion to the Premiership.

Tony Pulis, Manager of Middlesbrough FC and Rory Delap, U21s Coach at Derby County FC, will see their clubs in the running for the final promotion spot. And, if the two teams get through the first round of plays offs they could even meet in the final at Wembley on Saturday 26th May.

Whatever happens between the two teams, just 24 hours after the play off final, Tony and Rory will put their clubs’ battles aside and head to Paris to become part of the same team as they take on an epic challenge for The Donna Louise in a bid to raise £150,000.

Tower to Tower 2018 will see a team of 12, including Tony and Rory, take on the gruelling challenge of cycling, rowing and walking the 560km distance between Paris and London over four long days and four sleepless nights. The team will leave Paris at 4am (UK time) on Monday 28th May.

As well as raising lots of money for the children and young adults who rely on The Donna Louise, by pushing themselves to the limit, the team aim to raise awareness of the crippling sleep deprivation faced by many families as they care for a child with a life-limiting condition.

The longest and most challenging leg of Tower to Tower will see the team take to the seas in a small, wooden rowing boat, braving tides, sea sickness, blisters and strong winds to row the 160 kilometres across the channel to Brighton.

A 2 hour on 2 hours off relay format enables the boat to keep moving at all times but means that, for around 40 hours, team members will have just 2 hours at a time to change out of wet clothes, grab some sustenance and a few moments sleep before getting back in the rowing boat for their next 2 hour rowing shift.

Tony Pulis has supported The Donna Louise for many years, and took part in the last Tower to Tower challenge in 2015. He said, “I think the most difficult thing will be the lack of sleep, going through four days without any kind of continuous sleep. I think I’ll get through the cycle, the boat I’ve got the experience [from last time] but the walk will be tough. You come off the boat to do 60-odd miles – it’s like two marathons.”

Tower to Tower 2018 will start in Paris at 4am (UK time) on Monday 28th May. The team will finish outside The Guoman Tower Bridge Hotel, in the shadow of Tower Bridge, at approximately 3pm on Thursday 31st May (finish time subject to change depending on conditions).

This challenge, in this format and following this route, has never been attempted before.

Full details of the challenge, including profiles of the participants, are available at

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