Students from four Durham colleges successfully completed a gruelling 24-hour football match at Queen’s Campus Sports Centre in aid of charity. The event raised over £6,500, comfortably exceeding the target amount of £3,000.
The event was a fundraiser for both Teenage Cancer Trust and Mind, a mental health charity, in which fundraising was achieved by promotion via social media and change collection in the weeks prior to the event as well as on the day.
The marathon game, now in its third year, has previously supported the Teenage Cancer Trust as its main charity. Mind, meanwhile, a charity promoting awareness and understanding of mental heath problems, was a new addition.
The organiser James Leighton told Palatinate: “Mental heath perception is the challenge of our generation and I want to challenge the taboo of it. It is often overlooked and cast into the shadows. This was the perfect platform to begin this change.”
James’ view on mental health echoes that of ‘Youth Speak’ – an organisation who, in collaboration with Durham University, aims to tackle the social stigma surrounding those with mental health problems.
Thirty-six players took part in the event in a nine-a-side game, each side having a further nine substitutes. As the game continued throughout the night, players and substitutes alternated in two-hour shifts.
Leighton acknowledged that the remarkable support the match gained throughout the early hours of the morning was fundamental to morale.
“When we had a surge of supporters coming back in the early hours in the morning, it gave us that much needed boost that carried us through.”
As well as this, the organiser accepts that the responsibility felt towards the two charities was motivation enough for the players to survive the mammoth show of endurance.
“Reminding yourself how much you raised for these charities is enough to mask the cramp and pain”, Leighton stated.
The effort needed to run such an event goes beyond the players on the pitch. Referees from college football, Durham University staff, caterers and hundreds of supporters, played an important part in running the event.
Leighton is hopeful that such an event will become annual.
“The response we have got since the event has been amazing. So many people saying how great they think it is and how they want to be involved next year.”
The match finished with a final score of 197-122.
The remarkable achievement came in the same week as two sides joined forces in honour of the Testlands Support Project at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton. 1,600 goals were scored in the world record-breaking extravaganza, which spanned 101 hours.
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons