By Chris Dowsett
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Next Wednesday afternoon, seven Posh fans will be driving from London Road to all 41 Scottish League grounds to raise money for the Free Kicks Foundation.
After arriving for a night on the border in Berwick, the two teams will head off in opposite directions around Scotland to visit all the Scottish league clubs. Starting at Berwick Rangers and Annan Athletic respectively, both cars will travel a total of 940 miles in just 48 hours, before making a mad dash to Peterborough for the Posh's home game with Watford on Saturday 21st April. On our return to London Road, we will have the pleasure to meet Lemar, the mascot for the day.
All money raised on this trip will be spent on giving deserving children in Scotland fantastic days out at football.
For those of you who aren't already aware, the Free Kicks Foundation is a Peterborough based charity whose aim is to provide football-related activities for ill, bereaved and disadvantaged children, to give them a day to remember with their favourite football club.
Free Kicks is no stranger to hard work and fundraising. Led by Steve Thorpe and Sam Downing on a voluntary basis, they put every ounce of their spare time into organising fantastic days for children and enjoyable money raising events.
In 2009, two teams drove the length and bredth of England and Wales to visit all 92 league grounds in under 92 hours. 2010 was the year we walked 55 miles to Nottingham Forest for Posh's away fixture at the City Ground and last year, we put our boots on again and walked 80 miles from Barnet FC to all the football grounds in London ending up at Wembley.
2012 sees a massive fundraising year for the charity. Firstly, we are giving our feet a break and taking to the wheel, heading north of the border to visit the Scottish grounds, in a gruelling two day journey.
Secondly, on the 29th April, twelve brave souls are taking to their bikes and cycling all the way from Peterborough to Paris - you can sponsor them here: www.justgiving.com/posh2paris.
Lastly but by no means least, Free Kicks are also organising a skydive for those brave/stupid enough to jump out of a perfectly good plane.
It is for people like Lemar, mentioned above, that we go to all this effort for. The Free Kicks Foundation do an incredible job of providing football related activities for ill, bereaved and disadvantaged children. It is the change in your back pocket that makes a real difference to these children's lives. If you need a reminder of how much of a difference it makes, have a read of Rachel's story about her son Adam, who took part in of the first 'kicks':
"We managed to arrange for him to watch a game at Stamford Bridge from the players lounge and he also got to meet John Terry, who gave him his shirt and captain’s armband from the game. Sadly later that year, Adam passed away and this is what his mum Rachel wrote for us about Adam’s day and what it meant to him and his family:
Adam had been a fan of Chelsea for a few years before he was diagnosed with cancer. When Free Kicks Foundation offered him a VIP trip to see Chelsea play, he was more than anything overwhelmed, as was I, that he was being given such an amazing treat just for being ill (as he would put it). We watched the game from the players lounge with some of the players’ families and one of the players willingly had his picture taken with Adam, despite Adam not wanting to bother him!
After the game, we were taken behind the scenes downstairs to where the players were and Adam was taken through to meet the players. He was nervous and excited. When he came back he had tears in his eyes and said “Mum, John Terry gave me his shirt and his Premiership captain’s armband”, which he had apparently never given away before. He was just so overwhelmed and happy and for me to see him smiling and excited like that after everything meant so much.
The experience continued when four months later, a few weeks before he died, Adam received a package from Chelsea for his birthday with gifts and a card hand-written from John Terry and Frank Lampard. He couldn’t believe it. He kept saying “Mum, are they real? Are they really from them?” It was an unforgettable, touching experience for Adam and the whole family – the shirt, armband and cards are all in a huge frame on the wall.
We still stay in touch with Rachel, she did a skydive for us and kindly agreed for us to name our annual five-a-side tournament after Adam."
Please give anything you can to any of the fundraisers this year, it will certainly be worth it.
You can sponsor us on our trip to Scotland by visiting www.justgiving.com/freekicksinscotland or by texting FKFS12 and £10, £5, £2 or £1 to 70070.
For more info on the work of the Free Kicks Foundation, please visit: http://www.freekicksfoundation.org/
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