Gleniffer Thistle 2009s have been completing a ‘run-walk-cycle’ challenge to help raise funds for Accord Hospice.
The Paisley-based club, who play their league matches in the Paisley Johnstone & District Youth Football League (PJDYFL), are aiming to travel the amount of miles it would take from Paisley to the Nou Camp - where Barcelona play, in Spain.
YFS’ Matthew Muir spoke to head coach, Mark McCall, to find out more about the challenge and how the idea came about.
“During lockdown we had set the boys various technical and fitness challenges as well as twice weekly Zoom training, match analysis tasks, and a few zoom Q&As with current or former professional players to try and keep us all involved as a squad,” Mark said.
“After a few weeks we decided to ask them for suggestions of what the boys themselves would like to do and they asked if they could do a fitness challenge to raise money for charity which we all thought was a great idea.”
Accord Hospice are a local charity who provided palliative care to over 1,200 patients and families each year from the community of Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.
Mark explained more on why the club specifically decided on Accord Hospice as the charity to raise funds for.
“Accord Hospice is the nominated charity for Gleniffer Thistle FC and the club regularly make donations. We are aware that many of their fundraising opportunities which they rely on have been taken away from them this year so hopefully our donation helps them to continue the fantastic work that they do.”
The team have been given eight weeks (until July 20) to complete the equivalent of 1,330 miles - the distance it would take to get to the Nou Camp Stadium.
“Myself, the other coaches, and all the parents are all very proud of what the boys have achieved so far. We know it's been a really difficult time for everyone and many of them have struggled for motivation, but they have pushed each other on and stayed active whilst raising some money for a great cause.”
The club’s ‘JustGiving’ donations page has received a hugely positive response, with the club having already raised £1,795 by almost 100 supporters of what was initially a £500 target.
“We are all extremely grateful to our friends, family members and everyone else who has donated as we are well aware how tough it is for many people at the moment and the amount we have raised has exceeded our target and expectations”.
Nicola Sturgeon announced last week in Parliament that, as of July 13th, outdoor contact sports can resume for children and young people, in accordance to guidelines imposed by lockdown restrictions.
Mark welcomed the news from the First Minister, and admitted he was looking forward to getting back to training.
“It's fantastic news that we are allowed to train again and for us all to see each other in person and get football back in our lives, which will no doubt give everyone a massive boost.
“The last few months have been really tough for many people, but for those involved in kid's football this is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”
To find out more about Gleniffer Thistle 09’s team follow them on Twitter @09Thistle and to make a donation to their ‘JustGiving’ page, click here.