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Staff from Portfield School to tour 92 football grounds to raise awareness of autism

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STAFF from a Christchurch special school are preparing to kick off a £92,000 fundraising challenge to tour 92 football grounds in just 92 hours.

Their journey begins on 20th April where they work at Portfield School in Parley, which teaches pupils with autism, with the team’s first stop at St Mary’s Stadium, home of Southampton FC.

Dubbed 92 in 92, the group will give up part of their Easter holidays to drive 2,400 miles between all the clubs in the premiership, championship, league one and league two.

The teachers will take on 92 football grounds in 92 hours
The teachers will take on 92 football grounds in 92 hours

The money will go towards the charity Autism Unlimited – formerly Autism Wessex – which runs the school and also provides residential and supported independent living.

The team comprises Damian Brown, Nicky Edwards, Cara Kirby, Alistair Reed and James Underwood.

Eating and sleeping en route, they plan to spend only 10 minutes at each of the clubs, pausing long enough to grab a picture and report on their progress, before travelling on to the next ground.

They aim to finish at AFC Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium on 23rd April prior to the scheduled match against Fulham FC.

Assistant head teacher and Liverpool FC fan Nicky Edwards said: “It will be great fun – but what matters most is improving awareness about autism and raising money which will allow Autism Unlimited to invest in existing and new services for the autistic community.

"We hope that clubs along the route will support the 92 in 92 team and we have also set up a JustGiving page so people and organisations can easily donate and support us."

Siún Cranny, chief executive of Autism Unlimited added: "I am so proud of these guys taking on this amazing challenge.

"Football and exercise generally is so beneficial to autistic people in social communication and mental and physical wellness.

"I really hope that everyone gets behind them and shows lots of support, helping them to reach their target."

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/AU92in92Challenge

Any companies wishing to support the team can have their logos featured in the team’s social media. For more information email fundraising@autism-unlimited.org

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