FOLLOWERS of two non-league football clubs teamed up to great effect and supported the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
Penrith AFC held a fund-raiser at their Northern League Division I game with the generous backing of opponents Bishop Auckland on November 3.
Instead of paying for entry to the Frenchfield Park stadium, supporters and spectators were invited to make a donation to the GNAAS, which has an air ambulance – the Pride of Cumbria – based at nearby Langwathby.
On a wet and windy day, the match attracted a modest 92-strong crowd. Yet Penrith and Bishop Auckland supporters of all ages dug deep and raised the impressive sum of £578.48.
Penrith officials announced after the match they would top up that total to £600. And a cheque for that amount was handed over to GNAAS public liaison assistant Sophie Weir before their latest match on Saturday.
A Penrith AFC spokesman said: “We wish to thank each and every person who gave so generously in aid of the Great North Air Ambulance Service – an absolutely vital charity which nobody in our community could afford to be without.
“We were overwhelmed by the support pledged by everybody who attended the game, and would like to say a special thank you for the backing of a sizeable number of Bishop Auckland followers – some of whom kindly donated the proceeds of a cash collection taken during a coach journey to Penrith.”
Bishop Auckland secretary/director Tony Duffy said: “Bishop Auckland FC are proud to have been part of the fund-raiser. This shows how clubs in our league can work together to raise such a sum as this.
“I would like to thank both Bishop and Penrith fans for their donations and this also reflects the links between our two clubs which go back many years.”
A GNAAS spokesman said: “To both football clubs, and to the 92 fans who braved the conditions, we would like to say a big thank you. This kind of generosity and dedication is exactly why we are able to keep flying across the region 365 days a year. We could not continue without this kind of support.”