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Couple helps club towards its goal

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A football club has joined forces with a charity set up in memory of a teenager, by advertising it on the club’s strip.

All 120 players from Aslockton Cranmers Football Club have shirts featuring the logo of Oliver’s Army, founded by Mr and Mrs Mark Liley to raise money for research into adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD).

The couple’s 14-year-old son, Ollie, died from the rare brain condition in 2006.

In return, the couple have sponsored the club through a donation from the family business, Midland Communications Distribution.

The money will go towards the club’s £350,000 project to replace the sports pavilion in Orston.

Mrs Gail Liley (48) who runs the Durham Ox pub, Orston, said: “It’s really about keeping the community going so local people still play. It will be an ongoing partnership.”

Ollie was a talented showjumper, representing England before he became ill, and won two gold medals and a silver on his pony, Get Ready Freddie.

But Mrs Liley said he was also a fan of football.

“Ollie loved football. He loved to kick a ball about. If there was any club he supported I suppose it would have to be Manchester United,” she said.

Aslockton Cranmers, which has seven junior and adult teams, uses the playing field and sports pavilion on Spa Lane, Orston, but the facilities desperately need improving.

The manager of the under-15 team, Mr Martin Beardsley (45) said the club was grateful to the couple for their help.

Mr Beardsley of Beverleys Avenue, Whatton, said the club wanted to build a new pavilion with four changing rooms, showers, toilets and a small meeting room.

It also wants to improve the drainage on the field and install electricity.

Mr Beardsley said: “We are helping them by advertising Oliver’s Army on our shirts and in return they have given us quite a substantial donation to help us in the future.”

Mr Beardsley said they were drawing up plans and were in contact with organisations such as the Football Foundation, the waste disposal company Biffa and the waste recycling organisation Wren about possible grants.

Aslockton Cranmers have played in Orston for several years because the facilities in Aslockton could not accommodate the large number of players.

Mr Beardsley said plans to extend the facilities in Aslockton had been ongoing for around ten years but there were issues in finding available land.

The field and pavilion in Orston are owned by a trust and the club leases them from the Village Hall Committee, which manages the land.

Mr Beardsley said: “We will be opening it up for everyone who wants to use it.

“We will hire it out to anyone as a non-profit making venue.

“We will charge a fee that will cover the running costs.”

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