Generous Brighton & Hove Albion fans donated more than £16,000 to Albion in the Community (AITC) when the charity celebrated 25 years of its award-winning community work at the match with Cardiff City on Saturday 3rd October.
Albion’s match earlier this month commemorated a quarter of century of the club’s community work and a range of activities took place before the game alongside a record-breaking bucket collection.
Outside the stadium, AITC coaches held a soccer school taster session while fans were also encouraged to try wheelchair rugby.
Elsewhere in the Fanzone, AITC’s Gary Townsend and fundraiser extraordinaire Steve Darby raised money by cycling on two static bikes and the charity’s health team spoke to fans keen to make lifestyle changes.
AITC staff were also on hand give fans the chance to sign up to a string of fundraising events.
Albion legend Bobby Zamora had encouraged fans to bring £1 with them to donate to AITC and a small army of bucket collectors were on hand before and after the game. A pre-match silent auction held in the stadium’s lounges added some significant funds to the total, as fans bought a dinner with Inigo Calderon, a Bobby Zamora match-worn Seagulls shirt and the use of a stadium box for a forthcoming game.
Players from both teams walked out accompanied by an AITC mascot and the Albion team took to the field in a one-off AITC kit with a large number of commemorative replica shirts sold in the club shop. Each player also signed their match-worn shirt and these will be auctioned online over the next few weeks. The final total from the Cardiff City match is expected to top £20,000.
All proceeds from the match will help to fund AITC’s award-winning disability sport programme.
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Gary Townsend, the charity’s chief operating officer, was delighted with the amount raised and praised the generosity of Albion fans.
He said: “We are very fortunate in that we have always received fantastic support from Brighton fans, but we were overwhelmed by the response to our Bring £1 for AITC campaign.
“We collected more than 4,000 pound coins and the total from the buckets was a record amount for a collection at the Amex.
“Fans also signed-up to raise money for us by taking part in the Brighton Marathon, half-marathon and our Brighton to Brussels cycle challenge. It really was a fantastic effort on the part of the Albion fanbase.”
Any fans who would like to sign up for a fundraising challenge should visit www.albioninthecommunity.org.uk. The website also provides details of AITC’s places at the Brighton Marathon, half marathon, BM10k and more information about the Brighton to Brussels cycle ride. Fans can also find out how to donate to the charity online.