Feb 7 2013 by Sam Yarwood, Skelmersdale Advertiser
A TEAM of disabled footballers are one step closer to their goal of taking part in the Special Olympics.
Eight players from the Skem Men-aces have been selected to represent the North West in the national tournament – which takes place in Bath in August.
To send the players and three coaches to the event, the team needed to raise £6,000 – £550 per player – to cover the costs for the five-day tournament.
The team are now two-thirds of the way to achieving their fundraising target and are appealing to residents for support to help them gather the last £2,500 needed to send them to Bath.
Samantha Eaton, the daughter of Skem Men-aces coach Carl, has also launched her own special mission.
The 16-year-old West Lancashire College pupil is asking residents to donate photo albums so that each of the players can have a scrapbook memory of the competition.
Another donation request is for a good quality digital camera which will allow the team to take some sporting photos.
Samantha is also asking for packets of white socks.
She said: “I have set myself a mission as I am unable to go to Bath this year with my team.
“It costs a lot of money and we have been fundraising for so long, but there are other things we need to take with us and I have managed to get most of them by generous donations.”
Carl told the Visiter he is proud of the work Samantha is doing for the team.
He said: "Sammy is hoping to get all the lads photo albums so that they can have a scrapbook to remember the competition.
"She's had a few donations so far from neighbours on the street but is determined to get more and has even been going round knocking on doors!
"You should see her with the lads – she is fantastic.
"They all call her ‘mini-coach’ and have such respect for her, it is so good to see."
He added: "We are well over halfway to reaching our target now. We need about another £2,000-£2,500.
"Dean Wood Golf Club have now come on board as have Vauxhall Motors in Skelmersdale which is absolutely brilliant.”
The Skem Men-aces were recently named Sports Hero winners in the Your Heroes Awards.
Carl said: “It was a really nice award to be presented with. It marks a great start to the New Year."