Dedicated AFC Portchester youth football coach runs socially distanced marathon for club

A DEDICATED football coach is hoping to raise over £1,000 to help fund his his club’s junior teams as well as providing cash to support research into a rare type of brain cancer.

Saturday, 27th June 2020, 3:44 pm
Updated Monday, 29th June 2020, 8:58 am

Peter Sanderson, who coaches AFC Portchester Under 8s team, decided to raise the money to buy new strips and equipment for the club after it suspended players’ £20 a month fees which are used to keep the club going.

Peter, 36, said: ‘It has been really difficult for the club during lockdown but they were good enough to suspend players’ direct debits once the pandemic arrived. I wanted to raise money to help the kids enjoy their football once it returns.’

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Peter Sanderson, 36, with some of the children from AFC Portchester junior teams who joined him for sections of his marathon run. (Left to right) Joshua Sanderson, 8, Ashton Cripps, 9, Dan Keech, 10, and Aleks Skila, 8.

With nearly £1,000 raised so far, Peter is hoping to split the final amount with 75 per cent being divided between the club’s under-sevens to under-16s teams with the remaining 25 per cent going towards research into diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) brain cancer.

Peter said: ‘We have a family friend whose son, Harry St Ledger, nine, has suffered from a rare form of brain cancer. The money can hopefully be used to support the family as well as further research into the disease.’

The selfless coach decided to choose a marathon ‘as running is the only form of exercise I could do during lockdown’. He covered the 26 miles by running up and down his street more than 100 times.

After finishing the marathon Peter said: ‘The last three miles were really tough but I was being joined every few miles by my veterans teammates and some of the children.’

Peter Sanderson completes his street marathon to raise money for AFC Portchester. Son, Joshua Sanderson, 8, joined him for the final mile of his run.

He was joined for the last mile by son, Joshua Sanderson, eight.

Joshua said: ‘I’m really proud of my dad and hopefully we can get lots of equipment and strips. I’ve found it really hard not being with my friends and having fun playing as a team and I’m looking forward to when the season can start.’

Peter added: ‘With schools being shut the children have been missing out on both fitness and social interaction. We are hoping to start socially distanced training in July and hopefully the season will start in September.’

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