Derby day rivals to unite off the pitch for local cause

Afan Lido and Port Talbot Town foodbank

When local football clubs Afan Lido FC and Port Talbot Town FC meet next week for their hotly anticipated festive fixture, rivalries will be set aside off the pitch in aid of a charitable cause.

This year’s steel town derby will see senior and youth team members from Afan Lido FC and Port Talbot Town FC unite in a joint initiative to raise funds for the Port Talbot Foodbank over the Christmas period.

Representatives of both clubs will be working together on the day to raise awareness and recognition of the work being performed by the volunteers of the town’s Foodbank.

The Foodbank is part of the nationwide network of initiatives supported by the Trussell Trust working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK. It was founded three years ago by volunteers from various local churches and community groups, and is based at Carmel Chapel in Aberafan.

The festive derby will take place on Saturday December 23 at the Marston’s Stadium, home of Afan Lido Football Club, and kick off is scheduled for 2pm. Bucket collections and fundraising activities are being planned throughout the day.

Both teams currently compete in the regionalised second tier of Welsh domestic football – the Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One – and the all-Port Talbot derby usually attracts a bumper crowd.

General Manager for Afan Lido FC, Mark Robinson, commented: “This season marks our 50th anniversary and, to celebrate, we wanted to give something back to the community at Christmas.

“We are delighted to be championing such a worthy cause as the Port Talbot Foodbank and we hope to see as many people as possible attend the match to show their support for the charity and for the town.”

Co-organiser and Port Talbot Town FC committee member Craig Mapstone, echoed those sentiments.

He commented: “In testing times it is always reassuring to see the two clubs put any differences aside in support of the Port Talbot Foodbank. Hopefully we will have a big turnout for the game in the run-up to Christmas and see the community give generously to this excellent cause.”

Manager of the Port Talbot Foodbank, Bethan Eleri Davies, explained how community backing is a crucial element in continuing the work of the charity and expressed her thanks to the two clubs for their efforts.

She said: “Port Talbot Foodbank is delighted that the town’s football teams will be supporting us by collecting much-needed funds.

“Since our launch in September 2014 we have supported almost 6000 people within Port Talbot and we have seen an increase of 83% of people using our service compared to this time last year.

“We solely rely on public generosity to sustain this vital project and we genuinely thank both clubs for their much needed support.”

Both clubs are urging all officials and supporters to show their appreciation for the Port Talbot Foodbank ahead of the festive season, and for all those in attendance to support the initiative.

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