Uxbridge College students and staff played football non-stop for 24-hours, raising a massive £3,200 for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
Players took part in a series of 5-a-side matches starting at 11am and continuing all day and throughout the night - with some individuals on the pitch for 10-12 hours.
Around 40 sports students took turns playing across the whole 24 hours, with others taking part in one-off matches. The event was co-ordinated by sports lecturer Richard Johnson, whose own experiences of cardiac problems inspired the choice of charity.
Richard said: “This was harder than any of us expected and a massive team effort. The word that defined the whole event is character - the students showed incredible character and dedication, and despite being fatigued to the max most of them kept going through the whole 24-hours. There was blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes too when things got tough, but they encouraged each other to keep going. The amount of money they raised is fantastic too - one student, Matt Seven, raised more than £600 by himself. Everyone did amazingly.”
Richard spent the first two months of his life in hospital after being born with a hole in the heart and related issues, and as he grew up was repeatedly warned by doctors to avoid strenuous exercise. However he has been involved in cross-country running and other sports since he was a teenager and continues to be in better health than might be expected.
Standout players included Man of the Match Jack Pitcher (20), who was top goal scorer and clocked up 12 hours of play. Also honoured for their performances were Dylan Pollington and Joe Holland, both 18. Each was chosen to receive a winner’s trophy for their team, because as well as playing for hours on end, they both fulfilled key roles in organising the event and motivating others.
The local representative for CRY, Jeff Markham from Ruislip, came to the event and spoke to students about how he had come to be involved in the charity. Jeff’s son died suddenly in 2001 at the age of just 21 from undiagnosed heart problems and he and his family were supported by CRY.
Jeff said: “It was lovely to be involved and quite emotional for me to be part of because of the personal meaning. It is an amazing effort done with real enthusiasm and commitment. Congratulations to everyone, for their incredible performances and for the money raised for CRY.”
Each participant had to raise or donate money, and a raffle was also held with prizes including club shirts signed by the Arsenal Ladies FC players, and CRY patron and former Manchester United player Ray Wilkins. There were also other fundraising events including a keepy-up competition and guess the football badge challenge. The event was also supported by the College’s caterers Chartwell, who kindly provided sandwiches to the players.
CRY works to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD), supporting young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions, promoting and developing heart screening programmes and funding medical research. The charity also provides support for bereaved families.
The marathon was counted down on the sports hall’s professional basketball clock, and footage of the event was streamed live around the College and on YouTube by the College’s ELAP (e-learning action point) team.