Sunderland fans smash their £100,000 target with Papa John's Trophy final commemorative tickets
Sunderland fans have raised over £100,000 for four local charities – after selling commemorative tickets for their Papa John’s Trophy Final at Wembley.
With fans not able to follow their team to the national stadium when they face Tranmere Rovers on March 14 due to government restrictions, lifelong fan Peter Richardson came up with the idea of letting people buy a virtual or commemorative ticket to help local charities.
This was then picked up by supporters’ groups Red and White Army, the Senior Supporters Association and Sunderland AFC Branch Liaison Council - who teamed up with the club and its official charity, the Foundation of Light.
And in just over a week, the fundraising effort has exceeded all expectations. An initial aim of £10,000 was hit within hours and the targets set have continued to be smashed.
Now, supporters have raised a staggering six figure sum of £100,000, which will go to help four local charities.
All proceeds from the campaign are being donated to the Foundation of Light, Salvation Army, Sunderland Foodbank and Washington Mind as part of the #SunderlandTogether campaign.
Fans from across the world have donated, and as have a number of notable names – such as former owner Stewart Donald and legendary striker Niall Quinn.
And donations continue to flood in, with the total set to rise in the coming days.
Commenting on the fundraising drive, manager Lee Johnson said: “This is a fantastic initiative and it’s great to see our players, staff and supporters coming together to support the local community at time when it needs it most. Even though we are currently apart, this campaign shows the unbreakable togetherness within the club.”
The club say that the printing and distribution of the Wembley tickets has already begun, with those who purchased a printed ticket set to receive their memento in the coming days.
All printed tickets will include an image of the trophy, hologram and individual seat numbers – plus a special QR code which when scanned will take fans to the Foundation of Light YouTube channel to watch a special thank you message from those who are benefiting from the initiative.
You can find out more about the campaign, and purchase your own virtual ticket, at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sunderland-together/