When local entertainment, lifestyle and travel writer Nick McGrath contacted the club recently with a plea for help to raise funds for his newly formed youth football team, Walthamstow Wanderers, it was the least we could do considering Nick was the first to answer the call when the O’s needed help of their own!
Just prior to the season, foxes were causing a nuisance to the Leyton Orient pitch and one idea to remedy the solution was to invite nearby residents to bring their dogs along to the Breyer Group Stadium and have them urinate around the touch-lines! Nick was first up to the challenge and brought along his young Jack Russell, and now the Wanderers team mascot, HarryK9, who did his best to accomplish what was desired of him! Maybe it worked as the pitch is looking great!!
However, Nick then requested help from the O’s as his young son wanted to start playing football and rather than have him join a team – he formed a new one! But as with anything new, funding is required and the suggestion that his newly fashioned squad run laps around the Brisbane Road pitch to raise funds via sponsorship became reality at the culmination of the recent league game with Gateshead.
Eight youngsters, encouraged by their supportive parents, came along to the game that day and witnessed a fine 2-0 win for the O’s before they stripped off their coats to reveal their new football kit and then excitedly entered the hallowed turf to commence their 30-minute marathon of non-stop dribbling around the pitch. Each player was sponsored and would raise money for each circuit.
A tremendous total of just over £1000 has been announced – a fantastic effort from the boys and Nick said, “I'd like to a say massive, 'well done,' to all the Walthamstow Wanderers players who got involved in the challenge, firstly for their incredible hard work on the pitch during the sponsored dribble and also for their fantastic team spirit during the season so far. If they continue to show this sort of determination and resilience, the team will go from strength to strength. Thank you."
Howard Gould, Club Community Liaison Officer, commented afterwards, “We’re grateful to the club for allowing access to the pitch and thankfully the rain had abated by the time we started the challenge but the amount raised is incredible and I’m so pleased for Nick and the team as this will guarantee their expenses for this season and lay a foundation for the next. When Nick suggested the idea, I was totally on board - it was a real chance to return a favour but more than that; it was a real opportunity to enhance the synergy between club and community”.
The players participating were (laps completed in brackets):
William Gould (18), Art McGrath (18), Johny Krol (16), Amaan Shariff (16), Salman Safraz (14,) Maxim Gospodinov (13), Ekene Nezianya (13) and Henryk Rossa-Grzywaczyk (13).
A total of 121 which is approximately £7.50 per lap! If you’d like to find out a little more about Walthamstow Wanderers, go to www.walthamstowwanderers.club