IT’S a long way from the East King Street public park in Helensburgh to the hallowed turf of Old Trafford in Manchester: 231 miles, to be exact.

But that’s the distance players from Helensburgh FC’s 2011 squad are aiming to cover in a special sponsored walk in aid of local good causes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lockdown restrictions mean the walk, of course, is being done by each player individually, on their daily exercise – but they aren’t hanging about.

Coach Gordon Brodie said: “The idea is that when the kids are doing their period of exercise we record it and add to our running total as a team.

“It gives the kids something to aim towards and it’s also to raise some money.”

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The squad covered the first 70 miles of the distance between them in less than a week – and as of Tuesday night, they’d raised £165 via a JustGiving web page.

The walk is just one of a series of challenges and fund-raising efforts set by the squad’s coaching team as they look to support their young players while matches, training, classes at school and even meeting up with their friends are all off limits – and to support the NHS and other front line workers in the area at the same time.

Activities organised on both fronts during the first few weeks of the lockdown include a weekly bonus ball competition, various football challenges, quiz nights on Zoom, and profiles and pictures for Facebook.

Gordon continued: “For the past two weeks we have been raising a small amount of money to donate to worthwhile causes.

“By doing a bonus ball draw we have been able to donate directly to the NHS efforts and more recently to the Argyle Care Centre in Helensburgh.

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Gordon continued: “We wanted to do our bit for the community and will continue to do so as long as this goes on for.

“We are only a small group but the support and enthusiasm from kids, parents and wider family and the community is mind blowing.

“It’s a difficult time for the kids just now so we wanted to focus their minds on things apart from what’s going on.”

“As well as this fund-raising we have been sending the kids football challenges, holding quiz nights on Zoom, and making profiles and pictures for Facebook.”

The latest round of the bonus ball competition raised a further £59 on Saturday, while players and coaches delivered chocolates to health centres, pharmacies, police and firefighters in the area on Wednesday as a way of thanking staff for the work they’re doing.

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“I am very proud to be associated with this team,” Gordon added.

“We have incredible support from parents and I would like to thank them for everything they do.

“If any local care homes, care providers or anyone feels that they need our help then please get in touch with me.”

Email or call 077 111 20323 if you’d like the club’s help.

To donate to their JustGiving appeal, just click here.

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