Belfast Telegraph

Football club 'overwhelmed' by offer of help

By Dave Higgens

The secretary of a community football club in England said "it feels like we've won the lottery too" after £115m EuroMillions winner Frances Connolly said she planned to help its finances.

Trevor Robinson succeeded Mrs Connolly as club secretary at the Hartlepool St Francis club, which runs teams for boys and girls in the north-east town.

He said he could not believe it when the new multi-millionaire announced she wanted to spend some of her vast winnings on the club she used to work with. Mr Robinson said he had no idea how much money Mrs Connolly and her husband, Patrick, planned to give but said there was plenty of scope to spend it.

He said the 11 teams, which cater for six-year-olds to 13-year-olds, currently change in temporary accommodation and the club is hoping to raise £400,000 to build a clubhouse.

Mr Robinson said a new clubhouse would be a community hub as well as a facility for the teams. He added: "I'm overwhelmed. It feels like we've won the lottery too. It's mad. We've grown from three teams to eleven and we've got girls involved too, so we're getting bigger and bigger.

"We're more than just a football team, we're part of the community."

Mr Robinson said that around 30 to 40 volunteers regularly help with everything from coaching to making tea.

"The clubhouse is not just about the games, it would give families somewhere to go," he said.

Mr Robinson said he took over from Mrs Connolly, but did not know her personally.

Belfast Telegraph

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