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  • Writer's pictureMichael Barritt

Ards announce new charity partner

Ards Football Club is delighted to announce Sands (Still and Neonatal Death Support) as

our charitable partner for the 2022/23 season.

Sands NI were selected as the club’s charitable partner by our first team captain TJ Murray

and his partner Catherine as a thank you for the magnificent support that they received from

the charity following the devastating loss of their son Ziggy last year.

Sands is the leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK. Sands exists to reduce

the number of babies dying and to ensure that anyone affected by the death of a baby

receives the best possible care and support for as long as they need it.

Sands provides bereavement support services both nationally through its Freephone

helpline, mobile app, online community and resources, and locally through a UK-wide

network of around 100 regional support groups.

As well as raising funds for Sands NI, Ards FC also plan to work on other initiatives with

Sands, in particular the Sands United FC initiative where bereaved dads come together

weekly to play football together. There are currently eight Sands United FC teams in

Northern Ireland, though as yet there is not a team in the Ards & North Down area. Ards are

planning to host a 7-a-side tournament for the Sands United teams later in the year, with a

follow up 11-a-side game next year planned between Sands United FC and Ards FC

Legends. The club are also looking at opportunities for Ards to provide occasional guest

coaches to local Sands United teams.

Club Chairman Warren Patton commented, “Ards Football Club is delighted to work

alongside our new Charity Partner Sands for this upcoming season. They have a powerful

vision for the future and I encourage everyone who reads this and is connected with our club

to support this worthy charity.”

Sands Northern Ireland Co-ordinator, Steven Guy, also welcomed the partnership saying,

“Sands NI is delighted to be the charity partner with Ards FC for the 2022/2023 season. We

are looking forward to this partnership and the opportunities it will allow to raise awareness

of the issue of baby loss and also the support that Sands offers to bereaved parents, both

mums and dads. North Down Sands, based in Bangor, offers ongoing monthly support to

local parents in the Ards and North Down area. The Sands United FC NI teams are also

looking forward to the partnership with a 7-a-side tournament being planned and a full 11-a-

side game too and the potential for Sands United teams to enjoy special coaching sessions

led by Ards FC coaches. Thank you to everyone at Ards FC for choosing Sands NI as their

charity partner for this current season.”

The first event in the charitable partnership will be a bucket collection for Sands at our

League Cup game versus Ballymena United on Wednesday 14 September. We would

encourage everyone to support this collection generously.

If you would like more information about helping with Ards Football Club’s charitable

partnership with Sands NI, please contact Club Chaplain Sam Magill on 07790 019228.

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