Scottish Borders disabled football team raise cash to send them to national tournament

Gala Fairydean Rovers Para Squad have raised enough money to send them to a national competition held across 2024.

The Scottish Building Society has donated £1,200 to support the Rovers in sending two teams to compete at Scottish Football Association (SFA) tournaments.

The money will be used for covering the costs for volunteers from Gala Fairydean Rovers Community Trust who will coach and transport players from the Borders to the Pan Disability League.

The competition is a series of tournaments for players with a range of disabilities held at the Grangemouth Sports Arena.

Graeme McIver, a coach for the team said: “We have 21 players right from across the Borders. They have a range of different disabilities and for some players playing football is more of a challenge than others.

The team train on a Sunday. Credit: ITV

"Their spacial awareness for example or their fitness can be an issue but we just try and cater everything we do to ensure that everyone is involved and everyone can participate.

"We want everyone to have fun and enjoyment."

Governed by the SFA, para-football promotes inclusivity and equality to help grow the game.

Greg Sharp, a player in the team said: “I consider the team more my family than anything else, I don’t think of it like a team.

"I would say it is good for your mental health as well because it gives you something to do rather than sitting in the house all day.

Ross Durie, another player for Gala Fairydean Rovers Para Squad: “I have got to meet lots of new people and I got to connect with some old friends that I have not spoke to in many years."

Glenn McPherson who plays for the team believes the spirit shown amongst the players is brilliant.

He said: "I think the camaraderie of the team is very good. We all have our different personalities and it is just fun to see everyone having a good time."

Glenn's mother, Kirsty, believes that the team has helped her son, she said: "He joined the squad around four years ago and it has been brilliant. It gets him out and integrated with other people.

"He was quite a loner and sat in his room and never really done anything. He played football when he was in school and really enjoyed it so when we heard about this we thought we would give it a shot and the rest is history."

Darren Thomson is a former player with the side and has now turned his hand to raising money for the team.

The team has secured funding to take part in an SFA national tournament. Credit: ITV

He said: "Before we became Gala Fairydean Rovers disability squad, I used to be a striker. When we joined together with Gala Fairydean Rovers I became a midfielder.

"I had a stoke around seven years ago. They always wanted to keep me involved and I now do a lot of fundraising."

The Gala Fairydean Rovers squad recently visited the Society’s Bank Street branch to meet manager Jill Crook and colleagues to thank them for the support.

Jill said: "The squad travel up to Grangemouth to play in games there so the money that has been donated will assist them with their transport costs."

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