Our academy team will be doing a sponsored walk on Tuesday 6 October from 9.00am onwards to raise funds for Hitchin Town FC and for one of their students who recently receive devastating news. The idea came from Emily Coughlan one of the tutors on the academy course. She had been inspired by five year old Teddy Donnelly who was about to do his sponsored walk for the Canary Crisis Fund Crowdfunder.

Emily thought it would be a good idea for the college students to undertake their own challenge. She spoke to head tutor Matt Winch and academy manager Damon Lathrope who immediately backed the idea. It was decided to do a sponsored walk around Top Field and all 57 students would take part together with the tutors and management. They realised the football club had suffered due to the Covid-19 crisis and wanted to help and there was another good reason for raising money.

Unfortunately one of the new students had received terrible news. Sixteen year old Ryan was diagnosed with cancer soon after joining the college scheme and was told he would need chemotherapy. The Hitchin academy family felt compelled to support their fellow student and decided the sponsored walk proceeds would be shared between Hitchin Town FC and Ryan. As you might expect Ryan was overwhelmed when he heard what his fellow students were going to do on his behalf. Senior tutor Matt said it really boosted Ryan and inspired him and made him more determined to do his course work despite his difficulties and he is now up to date with all his work. After his first operation he phoned Matt to say it had gone well and asked him to let his fellow students know.

Ryan is going to use the money to help his education and will be able to buy a desk that he needs for his bedroom while some money will also go to help his parents cover travelling expenses as he will have some treatment in Manchester. He has chosen this route rather than buying things for his own leisure.

SCL who run the academy course have a hashtag ‘’stronger together’’ and what our college students are doing is the embodiment of this as they are helping one of their own.

To make it a proper challenge it was decided that a combined total of 500 kilometers be covered. As a comparison a player will cover about 12 kilometers in a game. It was felt that as their fellow student was facing a tough challenge they should too.

So it is really good to see again that we have a group of academy players of whom we can be very proud.

BY ROY IZZARD