High­land League chal­lenge for Dons Her­itage Trust

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FEATURES - BY KIERAN BEAT­TIE

Two Aberdeen FC fans are em­bark­ing on a jour­ney to visit 18 High­land League grounds in just 18 hours to raise funds for their favourite foot­ball club.

Jock Gar­diner and Bob Bain will take on the chal­lenge this July to raise cash for the Aberdeen FC Her­itage Trust, of which they are both char­i­ta­ble trustees.

The pair, who have at­tended thou­sands of Dons matches be­tween them over the past 45 years, will raise cash to help cre­ate a mu­seum and learn­ing cen­tre at the club’s planned Kings­ford Sta­dium.

Start­ing at Cove Rangers’ new Bal­moral Sta­dium, the jour­ney will take Mr Gar­diner and Mr Bain 547 miles through the High­lands to Wick Academy FC’s Harmsworth Park.

Mr Bain said: “Aberdeen FC has a strong con­nec­tion to the High­land League.

“Many play­ers start their ca­reer in the High­land teams be­fore ‘grad­u­at­ing’ to the Pre­mier League with Aberdeen.

“Like­wise, many for­mer Aberdeen play­ers choose to play out the fi­nal years of their ca­reers in the High­lands.

“It’s fan­tas­tic to be able to high­light that vi­tal link and cel­e­brate all it has

af­forded both Aberdeen and the High­land League teams.”

Mr Bain said he wants to take on the chal­lenge to give some­thing back to his favourite club.

He said: “I at­tended my first Aberdeen game in March 1974.

“I can still re­mem­ber the ex­cite­ment of step­ping out on to the south ter­race, as it was known then, and watch­ing over the heads of the crowd as my dad held me up high.

“From the mo­ment I first stepped into Pit­to­drie I fell in love with the club.

“Since 1975, when the Pre­mier League was founded, I’ve only missed 22 first team home games – none vol­un­tar­ily – and I’ve also been to a large per­cent­age of the away games over the years.”

Mr Gar­diner said: “My favourite team as a child grow­ing up in the Lake Dis­trict was Manch­ester United, so when I moved up to Scot­land I started sup­port­ing Aberdeen as they played in the same red-coloured strip.

“I used to travel up to see the Dons play as much as I could on the East Cen­tral 1903 sup­port­ers bus, and when it came time to ap­ply for uni­ver­sity there was re­ally only one choice for me – the Gran­ite City, just so I could see Aberdeen play at Pit­to­drie ev­ery sec­ond week.”

As trustees of the AFC her­itage trust, it’s im­por­tant for the two men to cel­e­brate the his­tory and legacy of Aberdeen FC and its play­ers.

He added: “And what bet­ter way to recog­nise the club’s con­nec­tion with the High­land League than by vis­it­ing all 18 clubs in one day?

“We hope that by mak­ing this pil­grim­age to High­land sta­di­ums, we can high­light the amaz­ing his­tory of Aberdeen FC and its High­land League con­nec­tions in or­der to raise much­needed funds for the Aberdeen FC Her­itage Trust mu­seum and learn­ing cen­tre project.”

Part of their trip will be spon­sored by the in­de­pen­dent ac­coun­tancy firm Hall Mor­rice, where Mr Bain is a man­ag­ing part­ner.

Trans­port for the trip has been or­gan­ised by Ed­die Mor­ri­son of Mor­ri­son Mo­tors in Tur­riff.

To do­nate, visit www.afcher­itage.org

Bob Bain, left, and Jock Gar­diner are go­ing on a 547-mile trek

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