"Its a joy to help the family and give Jacob the chance to play the game he loves, as well as raising awareness about the stem cell donor register."
Keith Bell Northumberland Football League
A registered charity which provides grass roots football activities for young people in the North East has stepped in to help a 4-year-old boy with his long-term recovery from a rare blood disorder.
The Northumberland Football League has prepared a special pitch for Jacob Armstrong from Wallsend, by funding and organising AstroTurf to be laid in the family’s own back garden.
Football mad Jacob, who has been diagnosed with a bone marrow deficiency, had to remain in semi - isolation at home as he was recovering from a series of blood transfusions to repair his immune system. The charity was determined to make a difference to his life by giving him his very own artificial grass pitch.
“We’re overwhelmed by this amazing gesture from the Northumberland Football League,” says Jacob’s dad Stephen.
“Jacob loves to kick a ball about and when the league found out that he is restricted to his home environment as he recovers, they wanted to do their bit. It’s a lovely example of the fantastic charitable work the league does within its home communities. We’re so grateful to them for giving him an opportunity he would not otherwise have had.”
Northumberland Football League committee member, Keith Bell explains “The league has a social welfare fund and we felt Jacob’s situation was a worthy cause for support. It’s a joy to help the family and give Jacob the chance to play the game he loves, as well as raising awareness about the stem cell donor register.
“We also work with other charitable organisations to promote important projects like Newcastle United’s Gamechanger initiative to address mental health issues and the NE Hearts with Goals project which installs defibrillators at football clubs and has so far saved the lives of two coaches.”
Formed in 1946, the Northumberland Football League is one of the country’s biggest football organisations, hosting over 200 leagues and 50 cup competitions with age groups ranging from under 7s through to adults.
With 16,500 players, 1,248 teams, 3,000 coaches and 1,300 fixtures per week, it provides leagues for boys and girls, including female only leagues from for 8 to 18 years, a regional women’s league and an adult disability league.
Ian Coates, General Manager of the League said: “The league has only 3.5 full time staff so we’re always on the look-out for more businesses and individual benefactors to get involved as sponsors, raising their profile whilst achieving something to benefit their community.”
The league is also a proven pathway to the professional game, with a number of famous names developing their talents in its leagues, including England internationals Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and Alan Shearer. Rising Newcastle United stars Sean and Matty Longstaff have also come through the system.
For further information about the league or to get involved as a sponsor, Call Ian Coates on 0191 271 2022 or visit http://www.pprfl.co.uk