Buckingham Palace invite for football fan who takes disabled fans to away games (From This Is Lancashire)
Buckingham Palace invite for football fan who takes disabled fans to away games
A DEVOTED Bury FC follower who has taken disabled fans to the team’s away matches for 20 years has been honoured with an invite to Buckingham Palace.
Builder Stan McGowen, aged 67, from Little Lever, has been driving the length and breadth of the country to help disabled supporters watch their favourite team since 1993.
His son Paul, aged 42, has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair-bound. It meant that, until the age of 22, he had only been able to attend Shakers’ home games, until Stan stepped in.
He now takes fans and volunteer helpers to every away match in a specially-decorated Bury FC Disabled Supporters Club minibus.
The Football Association (FA) has now invited 150 football volunteers, including Stan, from across the UK to celebrate their achievements at a ‘Grassroots Heroes’ reception at Buckingham Palace on Monday.
Prince William will host the event as president of the FA and will present each lucky volunteer with a medal in recognition of their commitment to the sport.
Stan said: “It is a massive honour for me to be able to represent the Bury FC Disabled Supporters Club and Bury FC as a whole at Buckingham Palace.
“If it was not for all the volunteers and the bus sponsors we would not be able to support the club in this way. It is not just me — I only drive the bus!”
The celebration, held to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the FA, will also see a football match between two of England’s oldest amateur clubs, Civil Service FC and Polytechnic FC, take place in the Palace gardens.
Stan, who was also named supporter of the year by the Football League in 2007, became a Bury FC fan after meeting his wife Zandra, who has always lived in Bury.
He added: “I love doing it and have no plans to stop. We go everywhere no matter how far away. It is fantastic to watch Bury play away and take people to see the big away grounds they might not otherwise have had the chance to visit.”
Since 1993, the fundraising activities the family have held to raise money for the disabled supporters club include a 10km wheelchair push, Manchester to Blackpool bike rides and an abseil down Manchester’s Piccadilly Hotel.
Bury FC chairman, Stewart Day, said: “Since arriving at the club I have been enormously impressed with our travelling supporters. Among them are our disabled supporters who rarely miss a game no matter the distance.
“Stan gives those disabled supporters the chance to support their club, and as a club we are enormously proud of the efforts that he has put in over a long period of years. It’s great to see him rewarded for his tireless efforts.”
Comments are closed on this article.