Hero's welcome for duo on a Chicken from from Portugal to The Hoghton Arms in Withnell

Why did the chicken hitch-hike from Portugal to Chorley?

It might sound like a joke, but two fund-raisers - with one dressed as a chicken - were tasked with making their own way back from Portugal in aid of Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Will Ferguson (left) and James Hamilton

Will Ferguson (left) and James Hamilton

Will Ferguson, assistant manager at The Hoghton Arms and his pal James Hamilton, who was stuffed in a chicken suit, endured little sleep, no showers and a heatwave, but were delighted to arrive back to a hero’s welcome during a family fun day at The Hoghton Arms.

Will, 27, said: “It was not that easy to get back. From Portugal airport we managed to get a lift to Porto centre to do a bit of sightseeing and we got a lift to Braga, which is north of Porto.

“After that we managed to get to Vigo, which is the Spanish border.

“From there, it got really difficult as we had around a 19 hour wait in 25 to 40 degrees heat as we tried to hitchhike on the road. That was so mind numbing and we got really annoyed.

James Hamilton dressed as a chicken on a boat to Plymouth

James Hamilton dressed as a chicken on a boat to Plymouth

“But eventually we got to Orense in Spain and Bilbao, where we were able to get a boat to Plymouth.

“From there it got a lot easier, as we were in our own country and we could speak the language. From Plymouth we got a lift to Cowley and then Lymm in Liverpool. From there we got a ride to Southport and then Chorley.

“We arrived at the pub with just one hour to spare of it being a full seven days.

“There were hard times, especially in the heat, but looking back we really enjoyed it. We brought a tent but we didn’t use it due to time constraints. We slept on bus station floors and hotel lobbies and charged our phones. One of us had to stay awake to keep an eye out for a lift.

James Hamilton dressed as a chicken in Spain

James Hamilton dressed as a chicken in Spain

“We felt relieved when we got back. We were amazed at the generosity of people who gave us lifts and donated money.

“We haven’t got the full total, but we estimate we have raised around £1,500. Totally everything up from our Just Giving page, bucket collections and the fun day, we are hoping to reach our target of £2,000.”

Heath Johnson, manager at the pub in Blackburn Road, Withnell, said: “The first two years we did this our chosen fund-raisers had to hitchhike as far as they could in seven days.

“This year, James’ employer PHG Contracting Limited offered to fly James and Will somewhere so we did a poll from our Facebook followers and they chose Portugal.

James Hamilton dressed as a chicken at Portugal airport

James Hamilton dressed as a chicken at Portugal airport

“We gave them £10 a day for food. They didn’t get much sleep so they did get a little bit tetchy towards the end of the trip but they were very proud of themselves.

“They didn’t have any showers so I think we are going to have to burn that chicken suit.”

To donate visit http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ChickenRun2017.

For a preview piece on this click here /hoghton-arms-takes-on-a-chicken-run-for-derian-house-1-8562650

James Hamilton dressed as a chicken hitchhikng in The Chicken Run: The Return Leg in aid of Derian House

James Hamilton dressed as a chicken hitchhikng in The Chicken Run: The Return Leg in aid of Derian House