A stunning surprise for Boro fans
BORO fans were stunned after walking into the team’s dressing room – and finding their own names where those of their heroes should be.
Members of the MFC Foundation’s disability football team were treated to a stadium tour, where personalised kits were revealed.
Cries of “This is amazing”, “I can’t believe it” and “I’m so happy”, were heard from the group.
But perhaps more inspiring is the selfless act that led to the occasion.
In an inspiring partnership, 16 to 24-year-olds not currently in education or employment have been working with the group by coaching them, helping them with their communications skills and giving them all-round general support.
As part of the Premier League Works Programme, the youngsters were tasked to set a fundraising goal in order to buy new strips for the disabled team.
After raising the £500 to purchase the kits, the disability group were invited for a tour of the Riverside Stadium.
The team then made their way into the changing rooms, only to see their own shirts hanging up.
Jonathan Bullock, organiser of the Premier League Works Programme’s fundraising committee said: “We loved working with the disability group and, as soon as we found out we had to do a social action project, there was only one thing we wanted to do it for.
“We’ve all worked so hard to raise the funds to buy them the kit they deserve, and all that effort really paid off when we saw the reactions on their faces when they saw the shirts. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
After spending time finding out their names, favourite colours and numbers, the group took part in a number of fundraising activities, including a sponsored climb of the local “Three Peaks” (Eston Nab, Roseberry Topping and Captain Cook’s Monument), as well as a sponsored cycle in the Cleveland Centre alongside the PL Works Ambassadors, Middlesbrough FC’s Marten de Roon and Viktor Fischer.
Les Curvis, Premier League Works course lead, added: “They have been one of the best bunches of lads I have ever worked with.
“They are an incredibly selfless bunch, but the moment I saw some of the participants from the group welling up and shedding tears of joy, it made me so proud of my group.”
The disability team trains every Friday at the Herlingshaw Centre with coaches from the MFC Foundation.
Premier League Works uses the power of football clubs and the Premier League to engage young people who are not involved in education, training or employment.
Fans during their tour of the Boro stadium
Disabled Boro fans during their tour of the stadium