Tag Archives: Charity

St. Mary’s Meals: Saints Foundation Charity Launch!

Last week, having recently made a donation to the charity Mary’s Meals via the Saints Foundation I was lucky enough to be drawn out of the hat to attend the launch of the two charities partnership at Staplewood. Unfortunately, as I now reside permanently in the desert (Dubai) it was a little difficult for me to get there, but the upshot of that was I was allowed to return a long overdue favour. With Saints in Europe for the first time in over 10 years, I was gutted to be so far away and not involved, so I appealed on twitter for anyone who might fancy picking me up some programmes from the games as a way of having some memorabilia. Paul Dawson messaged me and said he was happy to do it, and I was astounded that this stranger to me was not only pleased to help, but insisted on no financial compensation for his trouble. A truly selfless act, and when the package arrived in the post I was deligthed to find a Saints v Vitesse pin badge included! When I realised I couldn’t attend the event there was only one person I hoped could attend in my place! Over to you Paul! – Chris

After a plea and a tweet from a Saints Fan abroad on the first night of our European adventure back in August, an invitation was kindly offered to Debbie and myself to attend the launch of the Clubs new Charitable partnership with Mary’s Meals at Staplewood. Warmly welcomed by Ralph Krueger, and split into smaller groups by Greg Barker, our tour guide was the Head of Education, (I didn’t take her name as we were a bit giddy by then)! and also we met the Campus Cat along the way, cute thing that took a shine too the Christmas Tree. 
 
We were given the full no holds barred tour, including the Press Conference Room (which also doubles as a team debriefing room due too the 70 seats, ideal for all of the age groups of the team or indeed the 1st team).

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Next up was the corridor down to the changing rooms, which is in the same style as the ‘tunnel’ at St Mary’s, but with the noticeable difference that it has pictures of Saints ‘Legends” Mick Channon, MLT, Matt Oakley, Franny, Kevin Keegan and Peter Shilton ect. but also had the Hydro Pool, and showers, and of course the hairdryer!

The first team’s changing room, has no apparent segregation, as the club try to encourage togetherness and it helps with banter! As we were allowed to nose and poke around all of the changing rooms, it was noticeable that the younger of the age groups rooms were the tidiest, with the first teams room being very reminiscent of ‘teenagers bedrooms’!
At the end of the corridor was the boot room, and while it stank of wet grass and sweaty feet (think of a Ski hire shop smell x 10, and you’re still not even close)! Cedrić and Clasie’s feet are the smallest I have ever seen on a grown man!

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Just around the corner was ‘Kitman Forbsey’s’ place of work, and he gave an insightful speech about the amount of kit they wash each day (around 300 per day), and how they wash and clean Goalkeepers Gloves – and as the camera was snapping away we found the clubs underpants!


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Next we were taken upstairs too the Under 21’s and below canteen, with the sofa’s, TV’s, pool tables, and the explanation that they were not allowed into the 1st team’s canteen, they had to earn the right to enter that canteen! Into the first team canteen, which was almost the same, but bigger maybe and with more comfortable seats! Also on the wall of the Kids canteen was the list of some of the ex-players that have passed through the system.

Then through into the corridor where all of the coaches, and Ronald’s office is – and the Director of Football etc. and the analysis office, which has the fabled ‘black box’ room, while very well publicised it was obviously turned off!

We then braved the weather and trooped down too the area that hosts the Foundation, Education and all of the kids needs, which is about too be moved when the next phase of the building work gets underway.
The placements of all of the individual pitches was explained, how the kids progress around the campus, ending up on the first team pitch. We were also given access to the ‘dome’, the new indoor structure for the all weather training (there were a group of under 13’s training, and also colder inside than it was outside.  What was nice was that they all came over too our group and shook our hands and said ‘hello’, as all of the kids going through the system are expected to shake everybody’s hands they meet for the first time that day and say Hello, (a bit like the first team do on the Matchday Uncovered videos), and that was really nice too see, and all of the kids looked at ease doing so.

Back into the main pavilion, via the hallway too all of the changing rooms, and there was a batch of urine samples sat on the side(!), see pic, upstairs too the first team canteen for the launch of the new partnership!

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Ralph and Katherina spoke very passionately about why Mary’s Meals has been chosen to be the club’s foreign charity, and Greg explained how the Saints Foundation would be working and learning alongside Mary’s Meals going forward, I simply can’t do Mary’s Meals and the partnership justice, the best way of doing so is too click the clink and support the cause!

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Auction: Signed Saints Shirt!

Want to be the proud owner of a signed Saints shirt from last season, and donate to a great cause at the same time?

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A good friend of mine’s brother, Cardiff City Academy coach Adrian Harvie and his friends recently rode 1000 miles, across 13 cities, visiting 17 children’s hospitals to raise money for Climb a charity working on behalf of children, young people and adults affected by metabolic diseases.

They undertook this feat in honour of Adrian’s 3 year old daughter Emilia who suffers from the extremely rare Alexander Disease.

I’m sure you would agree that this was both a staggering feat of endurance and for a very worthy cause so get bidding!

If you want to bid do so by contacting the facebook page here or contacting Adrian on twitter:- @AdrianHarvie

Cheers,

Chris

Great South Run: Sponsor me and it could be you!

As I have mentioned previously, I will this year make my return to the streets of Portsmouth to take on the Great South Run for the second time. This is not my wisest decision and is against the advice of my Doctor as I am currently being treated for stress fractures in both shins, but, I am a firm believer in completing something once you have committed to it, and I may have to take it a little easier than I might have hoped.

I have decided to run it this time in aid of Saints Foundation and am looking to raise at least £250 to help them continue in the great work they do with disadvantaged kids and vulnerable adults.

I appreciate that times are tight for everyone these days, so I appreciate any donation, no matter how small. Every little helps.

This prompted a good opportunity though for me to give some prizes away and hopefully encourage people to give generously! To that end, I have three fantastic prizes that can be one simply by making a donation. two of them are Saints related, the other not so much, but still of interest to the anyone keen on football memorabilia.

Prize One:- THE FIRST EVER OFFICIAL GEORGEWEAHSCOUSIN.COM T-SHIRT!

That’s right folks. this is the opportunity to own the first ever official georgeweahscousin.com t-shirt. Recently the site has entered into a partnership with Cult Zeros to create a range of Saints related t-shirts and Hoodies (watch this space for designs), and they have kindly donated the first ever t-shirt (in a size of your choice) to the winner. And here it  is….

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All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this exclusive t-shirt is go to https://www.justgiving.com/Chris-Rann1/, make a donation and put somewhere in the comments ‘t-shirt’.

Prize Two:-SIGNED SOUTHAMPTON SQUAD FOOTBALL CIRCA 1995

This is a football I won in the raffle on an official coach trip to Old Trafford I think in November 1995, but I might be mistaken.

Signatures include:- Matthew Le Tissier, Alan Neilson, Francis Benali, Dave Beasant, Christer Warren, Paul Tisdale, Bruce Grobbelaar, Tommy Widdrington, Mathew Robinson, Matthew Oakley, Ken Monkou, Neil Moss, Neil Shipperley, Barry Venison and several more I cannot identify.

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All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this classic piece of Saints history is  go to https://www.justgiving.com/Chris-Rann1/, make a donation and put somewhere in the comments ‘Saints Ball’.

Prize Three- SIGNED EVERTON SQUAD FOOTBALL CIRCA  1989

This is a football that was kindly given to me by my cousin who was an apprentice at Goodison Park at the time. I’m pretty sure (but admittedly not 100%) that this is the squad that was FA Cup finalists in 1989.

Signatures include:- Kevin Ratcliffe, Wayne Clarke, Colin Harvey, Paul Power, Stuart McCall, Pat ven den Hauwe, Kevin Sheedy, Ian Wilson, Dave Watson, Tony Cottee, Neville Southall and several more I can’t identify.

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All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this classic piece of Everton history is  go to https://www.justgiving.com/Chris-Rann1/, make a donation and put somewhere in the comments ‘Everton Ball’.

So there we have it, three decent prizes that could be yours for as little as a £1. Please give whatever you can. Winners will be selected completely at random and will be notified after the Great South Run (26th October 2014). Good Luck!

Chris

Great South Run: The Return

This is somewhat of a return to the roots for this blog, and what’s more a shameless self promotion in the name of charity.

When I originally started this site in February 2011, I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it, but I had recently signed up to take part in the Great South Run and it felt like a good way to promote it and raise some money. Well, three years later I have decided to run in the event again, and to give it some extra spice I have decided to run this time for the Saints Foundation. This ties in nicely with my passion for Saints and my passion for running.

This also means that this time I will drag myself round the streets of Portsmouth in Saints colours. Nice.

Me (the one in the blue) at the Great South Run in 2011.
Me (the one in the blue) at the Great South Run in 2011.

I do consider myself a better runner this time out, but I have been slacking of late so the training starts properly today. I’m certainly better equipped this time out and have upgraded from my Army issue trainers pictured to these Adidas beauties:- Adidas Energy Boost, thanks to JD Sports.

I am looking to raise as much money as I can for the Saints Foundation, and help them continue their fantastic work in the community. If you fancy sponsoring me please visit my Just Giving page (remember to gift aid it!):- http://www.justgiving.com/Chris-Rann1

I’m also up for any fundraising suggestions you might have (within reason). So let me know by e-mailing commenting on this post!

Thanks in advance for your support!

Chris

Training Update – Valuable Lessons learned….

So I thought it was about time I gave you an update on my training exploits.

As the title suggests, I have learned some valuable lessons as I start to push myself a bit further. Interestingly, I have already come a long way. The last time I wrote about my running, I was struggling over a couple of miles. Now, I am pretty comfortable at that distance and am regularly running around the four mile mark.

I am still struggling with the dreaded stitch, anyone got a good preparation suggestion to prevent these? They always seem to strike when I am at my most comfortable.

Anyway the things I have learned that I have well and truly taken onboard are the following.

1. Don’t run past Eegons on a Saturday Morning. The smell of a big, greasy fry up is not the best motivational idea. I wonder if I tied a sausage to some sort of headpiece….

2. Don’t when approaching a friend(who is a seasoned long distance runner) coming the other way, speed up in some shameful show of male bravado. Yes, everybody likes a Top Gun style, mid run High Five, but you will pay for it, for the rest of your run.

3. Do play Basketball for the works team on a Tuesday night. Sweating, doesn’t even do it justice. Dripping. My feeble attempts to even get close to the monster on the other team counted for three days workout in one.

4. Don’t run in front of early morning seafront photographers. Thankfully I had the dulcet tones of Gary Numan and “Cars” in my ears, so I had to rely on my lipreading skills to let you know what he said. “Muddy Lick”, not sure what he was getting at….

5. Do go running after Saints drop points. You will look like a lunatic to other people you encounter with your angry grumblings, but your pace will considerably improve!

6. Do get your arse into gear. Finally I have setup my fund-raising page. I cannot reiterate enough how good a cause the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust is, so if you have anything spare to sponsor me, we would be extremely grateful. Go to:- http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ChrisRann

Me(No. 12) The last time I ran 10 miles - The Banja Luka Tough Ten

My weight has started to steadily drop too, the aim will be to get back to the size and fitness level I was in the above photo(circa 2006). Long way to go, but getting there steadily….

 

Chris

Ranning away with it….

So, why does a man who rarely does any exercise, traditionally hates running, and now after a pretty inactive post army life weighs 15 stone want to do the Great South Run?

Well, firstly I have a clear need to be fitter, I would like to play more sport and most importantly lose some weight. Having done nothing for two and a half years, entering a ten mile road race, may seem a bit drastic, but I have always been somebody that needs a target and motivation. Running for the sake of it, is not my style at all.

The last time I did a ten mile run was in 2007 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, while serving there in the British Army. I don’t remember my exact time, but I think it was around the 1:25 -1:35 mark, being that it was mountainous terrain, I think that this time area is a reasonable target for the flat surface of Southsea. The only problem is, that was achieved when I was at my peak of physical fitness. I was never the fittest squaddie, in fact I wasn’t even close, but my seven months in the former Yugoslavia provided me with enough time and opportunities to do more exercise than ever before(after the kick up the arse of failing a physical fitness test) and dare I say it, I actually began to enjoy it!

So I have set my targets, 10 miles, 1:25-1:35 time, Raise some money for the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust, Lose weight, and hopefully enjoy it. All this in 8 months? Should be achievable.

How does somebody go about suddenly becoming a runner again? That bit is easy. Dig out the old army PT trainers? Check. Get a treadmill? Check. Download Runkeeper App for my iPhone? Check. Bought Muesli? Check. Make a motivational itunes playlist to include the theme from Rocky? Check.

There is an old army saying, “All the gear, no idea” which is pretty apt, but after a week into my training plan, I already feel like a “runner”, I’ve discussed it at work, I’ve shared my run information with my facebook friends and subscribed to “Runner’s World” magazine. Ok, that last one is a lie, I mean what would there be to actually read about? One foot after the other as fast as you can right?

Wrong. There is so much more to it than that, and even though I was aware how unfit I had become, I was still surprised by how much I struggled on that treadmill for the first time. Red faced and sweating like a racehorse after two miles, the dry retching started. Two miles? This wasn’t looking good. If the first treadmill run was a “back to earth with a bump” moment, the first road run went beyond the bump and full on choke slammed me back to earth.

Out I went, confident that “Gonna Fly Now(theme from Rocky)” and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem would get me through a nice jaunt along Cowes seafront. By the time I actually got to the seafront, I was yet again a sweaty mess. Realistically I was going quite well, and started to feel more comfortable, only for a silver fox in a 70’s tracksuit who was probably my age when I was born to overtake me at Egypt Point. Confidence Knocked. Eminem had kicked in, but he could stuff his 8 mile. I carried on for as long as I could, conscious of the fact that this was my first road run in over two years and finished a 2.2 mile route in 24 minutes. A pace of just under 11 minutes per mile. I was disappointed. I have since been reassured by people that this isn’t too bad, but patience has never been a quality of mine, and I couldn’t help being deflated.

Long way to go yet, and am sure I will improve. Now to the truly important part. The fund raising. I am not someone who does a lot for charity, so to be able to raise some money for the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust makes me feel warm inside! I want to raise the most that I can, so have been trying to come up with some ideas to encourage people to part with their hard earned cash. Seeing as the event is run round the streets of Southsea and Portsmouth, my initial thought was, that if I could raise £2k I would run it in a Saints shirt with the name “Scummer” on the back. This could serve a double purpose, as I am pretty sure my pace would be significantly upped! Somebody else came up with the idea of having everybody who sponsors me could declare that they back Saints or Pompey, and whichever side donates the most money dictates which teams shirt I will wear during the race! The thought of wearing a Pompey shirt does not sit well with me at all, but in the name of charity I might take the risk. Thoughts?

Chris