Broadwood fundraiser nets over £1k

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 23:31 on 17 July 2015


The PALS lion mascot was on hand throughout the day and proved a hit with the kids. Picture: Scott Campbell for Cumbernauld Media.

A CHARITY football match, organised by one Cumbernauld family in aid of a newly founded special needs charity has set a gold standard for any future first-time fundraisers.

Organised by Laura and Michael-John Costello, the special football fundraiser was held at Cumbernauld’s Broadwood Stadium last Sunday (12th July), with all of the proceeds set to go to newly founded charity Play and Learning Support (PALS).

Speaking to Cumbernauld Media ahead of the match, Mrs Costello said she had “sold around 100 tickets”, explaining that she was “expecting some more people to buy their tickets soon… [with] over 100 people there on the day.” 

A head count from the day, however, suggests that those ambitions were smashed, with over 200 people turning out to support the footy fundraiser, with well over £1,300 raised in the process. 

Ahead of the big day, 32-year-old Laura, a primary school teacher from Cumbernauld, and her 33-year-old secondary school teacher husband, Michael-John, spoke to Cumbernauld Media about how they have been making use what they call the “fantastic” activities and services provided by the charity since it was founded, earlier this year.

Founded in January this year, the charity, known affectionately amongst its supporters as ‘PALS’, after its own acronym of Play and Learning Support, the organisation aims to support both children with special needs as well as their parents. 

To give something back to the charity, the duo decided to put together a special fundraising football match, and alongside their sons, 4-year-old Peter and 2-year-old Sean, the pair pulled together what turned out to be a great day.

Coming to be involved in the PALS charity by means of a poster, Laura described to us, in a pre-match interview, how both she and Michael-John have found the services offered by PALS to be wonderful.

“I have found the charity to be great for both of my sons, as well as my husband and I. My son Peter has made friends, something which for a child with Autism is not easy for him to do, but he likes being around the other kids in the charity, and tires him out: it gives him lots of fun things to do,” she explained. 

“I’ve made friends too and they’ve been a great support to us, because I think, when you have a child with special needs no-one really understands unless you’re really in it. This match is just our way of supporting what is a fantastic charity,” Laura added.

Running “weekly activities, such as a Thursday night free-play at Fundamentals, where the play-area is opened up to only children from PALS”, Laura continued, the Cumbernauld-based charity offers “swimming classes, music tuition, nights for disabled teenagers and a Monday night fun night, not to mention a micro-fitness class.”

Laura, who describes herself as nothing more than a “volunteer” for the charity, explained to us how both she and her husband had ran races last year, to fundraise for Autism charities, but spoke of their desire to “do something else”, thus the idea of a special football match came to mind.

“Last year my husband and I ran races to raise money for Autistic charities, and this year we wanted to do something else, something different,” Laura explained.

Laura added: “My husband and I both love football, and when thinking ‘what could we do?’ we thought that a charity match might be a fun way of raising money for the charity. 

“A lot of the time, the mums take over in the charity; we’re generally quite hands on, but this match gives the dads, the uncles, the grandads and the cousins their chance to shine.”

Speaking about the about of planning that both she and her husband had put into their charity football match, Mrs Costello explained: “We started planning everything back in the early days of April, and it’s just grown arms and legs” – a level of support which has been transformed into a major donation to the charity’s coffers.

Some £1,354.69 has been raised for Play and Learning Support to date, with more money from sponsors expected to bring that total well above £2,000 within the next couple of weeks. 

Catching up with Cumbernauld Media after the match, Laura described the game and the day as being a “huge success”, and heaped praise upon everybody who attended, donated or helped to make the day possible.

She said: “The match was a huge success, and in the end, the game finished PALS Legends 2-5 PALS All Stars. 

“We know that there was a great turnout also, with over 200 people turning out to watch the match, helping us to raise a smashing amount of £915.69, just on the day alone. 

“Including donations, players’ fees and previous ticket sales our total so far is £1,354.69, though this total does not include the sponsor money, which will be collected in over the next couple of weeks. We are hoping that the total will eventually come to be over £2,000.”

Giving her reaction on how the day’s activities went, Laura added: “Michael-John and I are over the moon with how the match went; there was a super turn out to support PALS. 

“The players themselves put on a good show and they all seemed to enjoy themselves, while the stalls were all very successful, with all of the tombola prizes won, many happy children's faces painted and lots of skilful kids beating the goalie at half time. 

“The total raised so far is incredible and we are so grateful to all those who played and attended the match for supporting PALS. We had lots of people helping at the match including PALS members, family and friends so we'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped make the match a huge success,” Laura added.

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