A FUND-RAISER for a schoolgirl with a rare skin condition will go ahead after being thrown into doubt over a funding crisis.
Simonside Residents FC will take to the pitch on November 6, as planned, to raise cash for six-year-old Sarah Chapman.
The West Boldon Primary School pupil suffers from an incurable skin condition – eythropoietic protoporphyria – which means she has to be protected from the sun at all times.
The footballers, aged between 16 and 50, wanted to stage a fund-raising match, but after speaking with her family the only date everyone could get together was in November – by which time South Tyneside Council funding which would have covered the cost of the pitches would have run out.
But now cash has been found and the players are raring to go and hope to raise as much as possible for the youngster from Hardie Drive, West Boldon.
Club manager Mick Dron said: “When the lads heard about the little girl and her condition, they wanted to do something to help.
“They have decided on a sponsored penalty shoot-out. Trophies will be available for the player who scores the most goals and the goalkeeper who saves the most.
“We have had some fantastic support from local businesses, with raffle prizes donated by Vic Young, Taybarns and Barbours.”
The penalty shoot out, starting at noon, will be held at the all-weather pitch based within the grounds of Lord Blyton Primary School, in Blyton Avenue, South Shields. Raffle tickets will be sold during the shoot out with winners chosen by Sarah at the end of the event.
Simonside Residents FC was started after teenagers – many who had been in trouble with the law – asked Mr Dron and friend Peter Henderson to be their football coaches.
“The sport has given the chance people who had a history of crime and drug abuse to turn their lives around.
The team, which also includes residents and those with disabilities, regularly play alongside officers from the area’s neighbourhood policing team. Over the years they have raised hundreds of pounds for charities.