In March of this year, the St Andrews Football Club announced that first team striker, Charlie Andrews, had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer. The upsetting news came as a shock to the whole club and naturally, they wanted to help.
Coming from their Fife Cup Final win, where they wore their ‘Get Well Soon Charlie’ t-shirts to collect their trophy, they decided to step up their game and on the 21st of August 13 students and staff began their 280 mile journey from St Andrews to Manchester. The purpose of the cycle was to raise money for Bloodwise, a UK based charity dedicated to researching blood cancer and offering support and information to those affected by it.
You may be asking yourself, why go all the way to Manchester? It’s where Charlie had been receiving his treatment, so only were they able to raise money, they were also able to check in with Charlie.
On the 21st of August, sporting their bright red Bloodwise t-shirts, 10 students and three members of staff set off from the St Andrews Sports Centre with Charlie and Old Trafford in their sights – what lay ahead of them was a three gruelling days of cycling. There had been no rigorous training sessions and most had never even touched a road bike before that day, but there was a job to be done and they were going to give it 110% – for the club, for themselves, and most importantly for Charlie.
I can only imagine how mentally and physically draining three days of (almost) non-stop cycling can be and all just a few short weeks before they head back to St Andrews for an intense week of preseason training. As they headed out of St Andrews and towards Edinburgh, they were able to visit the stadiums of East Fife FC, Raith Rovers and Hearts. As the hours ticked on and the miles to their destination shrunk, the donations crept ever closer to their £3,000 target.
The weather certainly didn’t make things any easier on the team, with road closures meaning they had to stop 20 miles short of where they planned on the penultimate day of their cycle. But finally, after three long, strenuous days, they made it to Old Trafford – their final destination where they met up with Charlie and his family.
The team completed a monumental task and deserve all the praise they have been receiving and more. They are a credit to not only the football club, but the university as a whole and a true testament to the St Andrews family spirit.
The club smashed their £3,000 target but the donations continue to flood in, if you would like to donate, follow the link below to visit the JustGiving page and read about Charlie’s story.