Leeds United among many to donate to football club after arson attack

A community is celebrating an amazing response to a fundraising plea after a football club’s container was torched, destroying everything inside.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 5:30 pm
Newly elected Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater with Gomersal and Cleckheaton Football Club coaches and players by the container damaged in the arson attack

Arsonists broke into the container belonging to Gomersal and Cleckheaton Football Club before setting it ablaze.

The wanton damage shocked the Spen Valley community - but the fundraising response proved to be incredible.

Club officials set up a JustGiving page with a target of £2,000 and within hours that total had been achieved – and the money kept flooding in.

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The aftermath of the arson attack

At the last count the total stood at more than £7,000, leaving club officials amazed at people’s generosity.

One of the club’s coaches Adam Blackburn, 39, said: “People being so desperate for money that they will go and steal is one thing but just to set something alight for the sake of it is nothing short of shocking.

“However, the reaction of the local community has been unbelievable and I’d just like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone for their kind words and donations. It shows just how important clubs like ours are to the local community.”

Adam, who coaches the under-11s, came across the blackened container when he was out walking his dog early last Thursday morning.

Adam Blackburn, one of the coaches at Gomersal and Cleckheaton Football Club

The container, which was secured with a padlock and chain, houses football equipment such as goalposts of different sizes, balls, cones, bibs and training equipment. There was also stock from the club’s tuck shop.

Adam said the container had been forced open and items from inside strewn around the field.

Club officials had secured it again but the raiders came back – and torched it.

Gomersal and Cleckheaton FC is based at Nibshaw Lane in Gomersal and has teams from under sixes through to open age. More than 200 children play for the club.

Adam described the fundraising response as “overwhelming” with rival football clubs and local businesses making donations. Leeds United Women FC donated £500.

The club also won the backing of newly-elected Batley and Spen Labour MP Kim Leadbeater who visited on Saturday.

On Facebook she described what happened as “dreadful” and praised the “brilliant set of volunteer coaches”.

She added: “Grassroots sport is so powerful and will be a real focus for me in my role.”

Police are investigating the incident and enquiries continue.