After two years of lockdown, there was a great appetite just to get out and do something together.  But we also had a representative of the Onside Network in Liberia, Aaron Weah, joining us and showing that not only can he stand the cold and wet of the Derwent Walk in December, but that he’s got decent soccer skills, even if he’s really a basketball player!

The final total we raised was £2,230 - the highest amount we’ve raised in any of our four Christmas Dribbles.  We had 109 separate donations. That’s around 100 individual people chipping in - some of them more than once!

Seven people and two dogs joined Aaron and myself on the day to walk stretches of the 15-mile route.  Aaron and I covered 16.44 miles on December 28.  Mind, we also went the short distance round the corner to No 1 Club, drank about eight pints of beer and played an estimated five games of pool.  An app on my phone told me I’d walked 34,767 steps.

So, what next?

I’ll be looking into costs to ship the boxes of kit that have already been collected and which are being generously housed at the warehouse of Rand Rocket in Consett.  The aim is to get that shipment under way by mid-April, so I’m giving the cut-off date of March 31 for any kit donations this year.

I’ve heard that costs have risen and although we have raised more money than ever before, we also have collected more gear than ever before.  We’ve already packed 27 boxes and if what I’ve been promised turns out to be true, there could well be another 27 boxes to add.

No 1 Club have generously said we can use their premises for the start and finish of next year’s Dribble, and use the room free of charge for a fundraising night afterwards.  In the meantime, I’m hoping to get a group of people together to discuss what else we can do - is it possible to organise a Summer Dribble too?  Or are there other ideas for fundraising that we can kick into shape?

Two major targets for this year: Get charitable status so we can increase future donations through Gift Aid and find a sponsor for the shipping so that all the money we raise can be spent on other necessary items like goals, nets, flags, goalie gear, kitbags and medical kits.

If you want to get involved with any of that, let me know.

Thanks again for all your support for our four grassroots clubs in Liberia who are using football to bring people together, develop leadership, encourage education and build peace with around 200 kids.  You can find Onside Football and Peace network on Facebook for more information.

If you want to get any gear to me - before the end of March for this year’s load - we're always looking for: football boots of any size, but especially 4, 5, 6, 7; full sets of kit (that’s 11 x shirts, 11 x shorts, 1 x goalie kit); footballs; and goalie kit.

You can find us on Facebook.



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