Rotherham United Community Sports Trust were delighted to welcome Angel as mascot for our recent home fixture against Leeds United. The Trust have an excellent relationship with the Free Kicks Foundation who kindly donate mascot packages to deserving local children.
The Free Kicks Foundation is a Peterborough based charity whose aim is to provide football-related activities for ill, bereaved and disadvantaged children, to give them a day to remember with their favourite football club. The charity is run on a voluntary basis by Steve Thorpe and Sam Downing. Steve’s main responsibility is fundraising as well as using his media contacts to gain publicity. Sam is the Kick Co-ordinator, she liaises with clubs, community groups, other charities and families to ensure that the children have a day to remember. In 2019, The Free Kicks Foundation are 12 years old and have donated over 900 match day experiences to deserving children young adults.
“My name is Angel Smith I am 10 years old and I was picked by the Rotherham United Community Sports Trust to be a mascot at the Rotherham United vs Leeds United game. It was the most amazing day I have ever had and a day I will never forget. Meeting and seeing the players was a dream come true. The best part of my day was taking selfies with the players and getting to walk out with Jon Taylor” added Angel, who works with Rotherham United Community Sports Trust coaches on a daily basis in her school.
“Angel first began to become really interested in football at the age of 7, she enjoyed watching games with her family and playing football at school with her friends. Since then her interest has grown more and more, wanting to play herself. She has also enjoyed going to matches at the AESSEAL New York stadium telling us how one day she wants to play in a big stadium. When Angel was picked to be a mascot she was bursting with pride and so excited. It was a dream come true. She had such a magical day from start to finish. It’s a memory as parents that we can always share. To see how proud and happy she was on that day was a magical moment for us. It has really inspired Angel even more and we could not be more grateful that she was given this opportunity” added Angel's mum Kelsey.
Community Trust Sports Coaches Dave Atkinson and James Marsh said “Having worked with Angel each day at her Primary School, we were really excited to be able to offer her a mascot package through the Free Kicks Foundation. Angel has a fantastic attitude at school and is a really keen footballer so we were delighted to be able to offer this unique opportunity. Angel loved the experience and told all her friends at school about the day and describes it as the best day of her life, so thanks to Free Kicks for making it happen.”
Chief Operating Officer Paul Douglas added “Once again The Free Kicks Foundation have created a once in a lifetime opportunity for a local child in Rotherham, they really are an asset and a valued partner of Rotherham United’s Community Sports Trust. I met Sam and Steve last season and I came to understand the fantastic and selfless work they do not just for Rotherham United but for hundreds of children across the country, the Free Kicks Foundation is simply incredible.”
Sam Downing from Free Kicks Foundation said "We are delighted that Angel enjoyed her mascot experience at Rotherham United and it's lovely to hear that is has inspired her to follow her dreams of playing football at a higher level. We'd like to thank everyone involved, both at the football club and the Community Sports Trust for being so positive about the partnership we have recently established and for helping us to provide local children with the experience of a lifetime".