Charity works with LFC Foundation to highlight road danger to North West youngsters

Charity works with LFC Foundation to highlight road danger to North West youngsters

by Henry James (November 2021)

A FORMER Liverpool and England goalkeeper, emergency services, charities and Merseyside’s Police Commissioner joined forces in Aintree to warn young footballers about road danger.

More than 100 footballers from across the North West heard messages about road safety at an under-17s grassroots football tournament on Friday (October 29, 2021).

The RoadPeace Cup was held at the Jeffrey Humble sports ground in Aintree at an event organised with the Liverpool Football Club (LFC) Foundation.

RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims, representatives from Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell and the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership worked together to provide presentations and interactive experiences for those who attended.

Teams taking part in the tournament included, L4 FC, Accrington Stanley FC, Blackpool FC, Manchester City, Mossley Hill FC, Rainford Rangers and Heswall FC.

Former LFC and England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland presented the winning team, Heswall FC and runners-up L4 FC, with trophies and medals.

Chris, who is now head Goalkeeping Coach at Colne FC, dedicates a lot of time to charity work and has been open about his own mental health struggles.

He said: “This has been an amazing event. Football is the one language that brings people together.

“We were trying to give the lads as much information as possible so they act responsibly not only when they start driving a car, but when they are passengers, pedestrians or cyclists.

"It’s not just their safety but others too.

“Hopefully they can take it on board and stop as many life-changing tragedies as possible.”

The young footballers listened to RoadPeace trustee and North West local coordinator Pauline Fielding MBE, who has fought for justice since her son Andrew’s death in 1994 at the A540/Raby Park Road junction in Neston.

Footballer Charlie Fogarty MBE, an inspirational speaker who suffered a severe brain injury after being hit by an overtaking car while crossing the road in 2012 when he as 15, also spoke to the players.

Shortly before the crash, Charlie had finished a four-year contact with Birmingham City, where he played with Everton star Demarai Gray and was trialling for Milton Keynes Dons.

Following months in a coma, he learned to eat, walk and talk again and has gone on to earn a degree in sports science, five international caps playing for the Northern Ireland cerebral palsy team and set up a disability football team.

He told players about his journey to recovery and urged them to “never give up”.

Road traffic injury is the leading cause of death for young people between five and 29, according to the World Health Organization. World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is on November 21.

Department for Transport statistics show there were over 115,000 casualties on Britain’s roads and 1,460 deaths in 2020.

RoadPeace Trustee and North West coordinator Pauline Fielding, said: “Too many lives are lost on our country’s roads – five each day and there are many more life changing injuries. As a bereaved parent I applaud the RoadPeace Cup which uses the power of football to help prevent further death and injury. We will never know how many lives it has saved.”

LFC Foundation Football Programme manager, Tony Cosgrove, said: “We have been working with RoadPeace for the past three years, using football as a way of engaging with youngsters to promote important safety messages.”

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