A CUMBRIAN football club is teaming up with the Great North Air Ambulance Service while supporting national Non-League Day.
Penrith AFC play in the highly competitive Northern League and take on Ryhope Colliery Welfare on Saturday (October 13, 3pm kick-off) in a crucial first division fixture.
The match will be played on national Non-League Day. This is always scheduled to coincide with an international break and provides a platform for clubs lower down the pyramid to promote the importance of affordable volunteer-led community football while giving fans across the country the chance to show support for their local non-league side.
Many such clubs are almost exclusively volunteer run, with money taken at the turnstiles often funding thriving youth set-ups, projects and facilities which are of benefit to the whole community.
The vast majority of games still kick off at 3pm, ticket prices are realistic, you can often stand anywhere in the ground and will always be guaranteed a warm welcome by people who run their clubs for a love of the game.
And, as it urges spectators to give non-league football a go, Penrith AFC is offering FREE ADMISSION to everyone this Saturday at their Frenchfield Park stadium.
All that the club is asking in return is for supporters and visitors to dig deep and donate to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
Donations will be collected by the club’s hard-working volunteers during the afternoon at the stadium, which lies close to the GNAAS’s Pride of Cumbria aircraft base in the village of Langwathby.
Penrith AFC interim manager Andy Coyles - who lives in North Yorkshire and has family in West Cumbria - spoke in glowing terms about a charity of which he has personal experience.
“They are a charity I hold close to my heart and I think it’s a great idea,” Andy said.
“I hope everybody can dig deep, and dig a little deeper, and put something in, because anything - even if it’s something small - will go a long, long way for that charity. They have my utmost respect.”
Steve Haywood, secretary of Saturday’s opponents, said: “The officials, management, players and supporters of Sunderland Ryhope Colliery Welfare FC are proud to support Penrith Football Club’s charitable work in support of the Great North Air Ambulance Service appeal.”
A GNAAS spokesman said: “The clubs represent two of the core areas served by our charity, with our aircraft frequent visitors to both, sadly. Any money raised will help us continue to save lives and ease suffering across those areas. As for the game, we’ve got a foot in both camps, so we are hoping for an entertaining draw.”
Last year GNAAS responded to more than 900 call-outs and needed to raise £5.1m. To find out how you can help, please visit www.gnaas.com or call 01325-487263.
*Frenchfield Park stadium, at Carleton, on the outskirts of Penrith, is signposted off the A686, close to the Cross Keys pub. The postcode is CA11 8UA.