A cursory Google search will reveal a whole host of articles detailing the indiscretions of university sports clubs across the world. It was therefore refreshing to witness the “Kickup-athon” organised by the University of St Andrews Football Club in order to raise money for the Charities Campaign. From noon until midnight on 22 February the footballers graced the hallowed turf that is the outside of the Students’ Union and under-took the challenge of ‘beating gravity for 12 hours using only the martial art of Keepy Uppies’. Given that St Andrews seems to have more charity 6-a-side tournaments than an uninspired PE curriculum, the fundraiser was a refreshing and novel way to raise money.
For those whose footballing knowledge is as limited as that of Garth Crooks or Paul Merson, “keepy uppies” involve attempting to keep the ball in the air using any part of their body except for their hands and arms. While the less gifted footballers among us are happy to keep the ball in the air for anything longer than 10 seconds, the current world record stands at a staggering 26 hour. Still, the task facing the participants was a daunting one, only exacerbated as the event was taking place the afternoon after Sinners.
Fortunately, the footballers responded enthusiastically, with many players volunteering to fill the designated time slots, with two players participating per half hour, and some players even multiple slots. Rory the Lion kept the spirits up during this long slog with his antics, and hopefully even inspired a few passers-by to donate to the cause.
The fundraiser itself proved to be a success, with £250 being raised in support of the University’s Charities Campaign. This money will go to-wards the three charities that the Charities Campaign supports: Save The Children International, the Scottish Refugee Council and Families First. While the event may not have raised as much money as one of the numerous charity balls that dominate the St Andrews’ social calendar, the charities will gratefully receive the money.
Daniel Pilley, the president of the Men’s Football Club, spoke of the importance of students giving back to society. “Students at the university are in the privileged position of being able to help those less fortunate than themselves and sacrificing half an hour of your time or a few pounds donation is a small price to pay to help those in need,” Mr Pilley said.
Greg Cox, a key organiser of the fundraiser, was effusive in his praise of both the Men’s and Women’s clubs, without which the event would not have been possible. “A large contingent from both the Men’s and Women’s Football clubs helped to fill the time slots throughout the day and help with the organisation of the event,” said Mr Cox.
The event was demonstrative of the ability of societies in St Andrews to support charity campaigns, as they are easily able to mobilise their membership to give up their time and money to support worthy causes. This is something that has been done consistently across the University’s sports clubs and societies, be it through bake sales or food donation drives. It is important that students do not forget the importance of using the means at their disposal in order to help others. Let us hope that events such as this continue to be commonplace on the streets of St Andrews for as long as there are students in the town.
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