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by John Howard @Everton

Everton v Newcastle

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Everton in the Community’s internationally renowned disability programme has received a significant legacy donation thanks to an admiring benefactor’s final wish.

The Blues’ official charity has been gifted an incredible donation of £51,000 from the estate of the late David Thomas who, after learning of the amazing work the charity undertakes for local disabled people, wanted to ensure the programme’s sustainability for years to come.

The lifelong Everton fan also overcame his own disability through the power of sport.

David’s partner, Rachel Kearney, recently travelled to Liverpool to meet Everton in the Community’s Chief Executive, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Everton defender John Stones and staff and participants from the Club’s award-winning disability scheme to hand over the cheque.

To thank David and Rachel for the wonderful donation and celebrate World Disability Day on 3 December, Everton in the Community staged an exhibition event at Liverpool’s Greenbank Sports Academy recently, involving children and adults who access the disability programme each week, including wheelchair and autistic teams and a group from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Speaking about the donation Mrs Kearny said: “When I read about the fantastic work Everton in the Community’s disability programme does and all the people it helps, I honestly couldn’t think of a better initiative to donate to.

"The thought of the charity re-investing the money back into the programme to continue their incredible work gives me an enormous sense of pride.”

Everton in the Community’s disability programme is one of the largest and most respected in the world, delivering over 10,000 football opportunities for disabled children and adults every year.

Using the power of sport, the charity engaged with nearly 3,000 disabled participants in the past year alone on a local, national and international level. There are currently an unrivalled 26 successful disability teams representing Everton, which field a total of current 12 international players, including visually-impaired Roy Turnham, 28 and 18-year-old George Fletcher, a cerebral palsy sufferer, who represented ParalympicsGB at London 2012.

Denise Barrett-Baxendale said: “I am absolutely delighted to accept this donation for our wonderful disability programme and welcome Rachel into the Everton family.

“This kind gift means so much to so many people and will enable us to reach out to even more disabled people on Merseyside for many years to come.”

To find out more about Everton in the Community’s disability programme click here.

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