Ex Norwich City star joins charity walkers

Former Norwich City, West Ham and England footballer Dean Ashton joined a group of 36 people on a charity walk along the north Norfolk coast.

The group walked 47 miles from Hunstanton to Cromer, continuing through the night, and were due to finish at around 9.30am on Saturday.

Ashton, 28, walked part way and joined at Burnham Deepdale.

The walkers included staff from Norwich business, Further Search Marketing, Sainsbury's, Queen's Road, Norwich and I-Patter.

The walk was expected to raise �3,000 for the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation's Sporting Light Appeal. The foundation is the official charity of Norwich City Football Club.

The Sporting Light Appeal runs several projects in Norfolk and north Suffolk where sport is used to help improve the lives of disadvantaged children and adults.

Ashton said: 'I was asked to get involved with the charity last year, and I've done a few things with them.

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'I had a great time with Norwich City and moved back to Norwich a couple of years ago with my wife, who is a Norwich girl, so it's been great to give something back.'

Ashton was three months short of his 23rd birthday when he was called into Steve McClaren's first England squad for a friendly against Greece in August 2006.

The day before the match a tackle in training shattered his left ankle and re-shaped his life.

He played only 41 more games, including 45 minutes for England in Trinidad but he knew he was never the same player again and his career was over at 26.

Ashton, who has two young children with his wife Gemma, said: 'I will never be able to run again, it's just something I have to live with.

'I'm enjoying spending time with my family, I'm doing a bit of charity work and I've enjoyed doing some commentary with Sky and Radio Norfolk, but I honestly don't know what the future holds for me.

'I really don't feel like getting back into football, through coaching or management at the moment. It is very difficult for me to think about that with the way my playing career ended.'

Ashton played at England under-21 level with several of the current England squad including James Milner, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka.

He said on Friday: 'I've been watching Euro 2012 and think England have been performing really well and have every chance of going all the way.

'Of course I'm watching the lads and thinking I could have been there with them, but I have to accept that part of my life is over now.'

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