FOUR former Kelso High School pupils are undertaking a mammoth 7,000-mile charity drive that they hope will raise £100,000, writes Mark Entwistle.
The quartet intends visiting every city that is home to a European Cup-winning club, in 14 days – starting at Celtic Park and finishing at the venue for this year’s final, Wembley Stadium, on May 28.
The group will be welcomed at the stadium of each of the 21 European Cup/ Champions League-winning clubs by a “medallion man”, that is, a player from that club who took part in the final-winning team.
Among a who’s who of legendary footballers who have agreed to support the charity fundraiser are German hero Gerd Muller (Bayern Munich) and Italy’s Franco Baresi (AC Milan)
Starting out on Sunday in Glasgow, the team will set off in their white Ford S-Max Titanium X – supplied by Ford – and will travel as far as Bucharest, Turin and Lisbon, with the aim that by the time they reach London on May 28, their EuroChampsChallenge will be completed and £100,000 will have been raised for two children’s charities.
The team comprises Robin Blacklock, Mark Little, Dougall MacArthur and Stuart Wilkie.
The inspiration for the challenge is Robin’s seven-year old son Angus who was born with a rare condition, microtia, meaning he only has one ear, and which has resulted in him coping with numerous operations, with more still to come.
Since Angus’s birth, he and his family have received tremendous support from the Sick Kids Friends Foundation and facial disfigurement charity Changing Faces. Robin set up the EuroChamps Challenge as a way for the family to say thanks and repay everyone for some of that care.
Robin told TheSouthern: “In Angus’s seven years, he’s had to undergo in excess of 15 operations yet he has continued to face every challenge with incredible courage and resilience – it’s his bravery which inspired me to do something unique.
“Over the years, we’ve received so much support from Changing Faces and the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, so the EuroChampsChallenge is a way for my family and me to express our gratitude.
“I wanted to come up with a fundraising event which had never been attempted before and which had a football theme, and I think I’ve managed to achieve that.”
After leaving Celtic Park on Sunday, the team will first travel to the four other British clubs who have won the tournament – Liverpool, Manchester United, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa.
They will then visit a further 14 countries and 16 clubs before returning to the UK to celebrate the 56th Champions League final at Wembley on Saturday, May 28.
For further information on the EuroChampsChallenge or to donate and support, visit: www.eurochampschallenge.com