Young footballers help raise cash for St Albans’ Grove House Hospice

HARPENDEN resident Neil MacKenzie has brought in a further �3,500 in sponsorship to Grove House thanks to the generosity of young football players and their parents.

They are all associated with local football teams at the Harpenden Colts club as Neil explained: “Over the last few years I’ve undertaken several sponsored challenges to raise money for cancer-related charities and this year I chose to support Grove House for personal reasons.

“The clinical team at the charity were caring for my very good friend Euan Bruce whilst he was doing his best to fight cancer.”

Neil chose his challenge and, not content with one race, picked two runs on consecutive weekends; the London Royal Parks Half Marathon and the Herts 10K. To raise the bar still further he pledged to pay a forfeit of extra sponsorship should he take longer than 150 minutes to run both races.

He went on: “I approached family, friends and local groups for sponsorship – including Harpenden Colts FC. Both Euan and I had been involved for over 10 years with the club in various capacities ranging from coach to parent and supporter.

“They really rose to the challenge by offering to sponsor me so much per goal based on the number of goals scored by their Colts teams on a given weekend.

“One of these squads was the U11s Hurricanes – newly promoted to a higher division. Although unbeaten in their three or four fixtures to date, their goal tally was averaging one or two per game – so the idea of a few pounds per goal for a good cause seemed supportive yet sensible. But the Hurricanes went on to win 11-1 that weekend and some parents had sponsored me at a rate of more than �10 a goal!”

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He added: “So although I beat my pledged combined time for both runs and therefore didn’t forfeit the extra sponsorship myself – I raised way more than I anticipated thanks to the incredible generosity of the local community.

“Euan sadly passed away at home in the afternoon of Friday, December 7, his family at his side. It was thanks to Grove House that he was able to spend his final days at home surrounded by his loved ones.”