Boy, 8, cycles 80 laps of Worksop Town FC pitch to raise much-needed funds for club

A kind-hearted youngster cycled 80 laps of the Worksop Town FC pitch to raise much-needed funds for the cash-strapped club.

Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 8:35 pm
Updated Sunday, 23rd February 2020, 1:04 pm

Oliver Banyard is just eight years old, but that didn’t stop him braving the weather and doing his bit to help save the club, who need to raise £30,000 by the end of February to survive.

Earlier this month Worksop Town FC, the world’s fourth oldest football team, announced it was facing potential closure due to outstanding debts.

Peter Whitehead – who owns the lease to Sandy Lane football ground where Worksop play their home matches – has promised to step in and take over as chairman, if the money can be raised to repay the debts.

A Just Giving page has so far raised more than £5,000.

On Tuesday, Oliver, who is Peter’s grandson, completed 80 laps around the Sandy Lane pitch – the equivalent of 18.61 miles. Coincidentally, 1861 is the year of the club’s formation.

“I know how much my Grandad loves football,” Oliver said. “I’ve heard him talking about Worksop Town needing donations and I thought I could help by doing what I love and riding my bike to help raise some money.”

As of Wednesday evening Oliver’s Just Giving page had raised more than £1500, a little over half way towards his £3000 target.

Oliver Banyard, 8, has cycled round more than 80 miles to raise money for Worksop Town

“I am so unbelievably proud of my grandson,” Peter said. “He works so hard and it shows with all his achievements this last year. He knows how much football means to me and for him to want to do this shows the kind of child he is. I know he will carry on to great things. We all believe in him and, more importantly, he believes in himself.”

The club has also received support from overseas in their fight for survival. Kjell Åvendal, a keen supporter of Norwegian Division Two club Egersunds IK who share the same colours as Worksop, has launched a brothers-in-arms campaign which allows people to donate and receive a specially designed scarf featuring both club’s crests.

He was inspired to start the campaign after attending a Worksop match three years ago.

As of Wednesday evening Oliver had raised more than £1500.