Mark Dabbs enlists more than a HUNDRED star names for new book
A roving Walsall fan has enlisted a stellar array of celebrities to hold his beloved club’s scarf aloft forcharity.
Mark Dabbs criss-crossed the country to rope in more than a hundred famous faces for a book to raise money for the St Giles Walsall Hospice.
The nurse, 35, has posed with sports broadcasters Gary Lineker and Adrian Chiles, been welcomed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Downing Street and visited former MP Edwina Currie at her home in Surrey.
TV host Lorraine Kelly waited patiently for him at ITV studios but he had to sit through two recordings of Jeremy Kyle’s chat show before being whisked backstage.
Singer Jayne MacDonald and TV presenter Angela Rippon met the Saddlers fan at a stage door in Birmingham - though it took him three attempts to track down the late Lynda Bellingham in Yeovil.
Even Mike Tyson donned the scarf at a dinner in Wolverhampton.
Mark said: “At first I wanted to raise the profile of Walsall because I’m passionate about the town and then I thought if I could raise money for the hospice with a book it would propel me along the way.
“It’s been good, lots of people ask me about the book and to see it as a completed project is really good. I’ve probably got 110 pictures overall and there’s a quite a few I’ve kept back which I’ll put in the next book.”
Ken Dodd was another showbiz legend to help Mark on his quest. The comic invited the picture-hunter backstage before a show and his clowning about meant Mark had to dash to get to his shift at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Astronauts Charlie Duke, Ed Mitchell and Dave Scott were three of six moon-walkers to pose with the red-and-white woolly.
Gordon Brown invited Mark to Downing Street, but blinked for the picture, as did Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Mark even managed to get renowned Baggies supporter and ex-One Show presenter Adrian Chiles to take part.
And he also enlisted the support of Dame Vera Lynn and Des O’Connor.
Sadly, Lynda Bellingham is not the only celebrity to have passed away since holding the emblem, as through the years Mark has also posed with the late TV and film stars Leslie Nielsen, Geoffrey Hughes, Susannah York, Kate O’Mara and astronomer Sir Patrick Moore.
Fitness fanatic Mark, of Darlaston Road, Pleck, combines nursing and celebrity-hunting with his self-styled role as Walsall’s “running ambassador”.
He was spurred into promoting health in Walsall after reading a newspaper opinion piece saying the town was “full of unfit, flabby people” and has run marathons on all six continents.
Mark originally wanted to pose with the scarf in front of world landmarks - but decided famous people would attract more interest.
He has published 70 pictures in a book entitled ‘Travels with my Scarf’ to raise money for the St Giles Walsall Hospice Appeal and has a sequel planned.
* Travels with my Scarf is available at Waterstones and WH Smith in Walsall and on Amazon.