A determined kids’ football team from Cannock has scored a brilliant result after it virtually travelled over 600 miles to raise over £1,100 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Even though Hednesford Under 13s Football Team hasn’t been able to train together during lockdown, the team’s coaches, Steve Ball and Keith Morgan, set the boys a goal to keep them fit and active and to help their mental wellbeing.

The pair challenged the young players to walk, run and cycle the distance from their training ground to Wembley Stadium and back again, but within days the boys had hit the target and the coaches could see they needed to add some extra time. Steve and Keith then moved the goalposts, challenging the kids to cover the whopping 600 miles between all of the Premier League grounds from Newcastle to Southampton.

The team was keen to use the task to support the NHS and chose Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where coach Steve’s 10-year-old son Zac, who plays in a younger team, had received treatment for a heart condition.

When Zac was two-years-old, he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which causes the heart to beat abnormally fast for periods of time. During a scary episode, Zac fainted and was rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for treatment to manage his condition. More recently, Zac has had a successful catheter ablation procedure which has helped to reduce the electrical signals that cause the episodes.

Steve said: “We really wanted to give the boys something to work towards to keep them match fit for when they can play again and during these difficult times we thought it was only right to support the NHS at the same time.

“Birmingham Children’s Hospital means a lot to me on a personal level but since Zac’s treatment, his brother Callum, who plays in the Under 13s team, and all his team-mates have really got behind it. They’ve had a great time being competitive and have even got the parents involved too.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical health, especially during what has been such a difficult and worrying time, so we love that the Hednesford Under 13s have been taking care of both with this fundraiser. Although the team hasn’t been able to train together, we’re so glad they had a fantastic time raising such an incredible amount. The funds will go towards helping us do more for the 90,000 sick kids we treat every year.”