Selby Town raised £71.21 for their guest of honour and local Disability Football player Billy Hobson during their 5-3 Toolstation NCEL Division One victory over Rossington Main on Saturday.
Billy, who has Down’s syndrome and plays for Selby Disability Football Club, is heading to Geneva in June after getting picked for the Mencap GB squad which will compete at their European Championships. Nostell Miners Welfare Disability Footballers Conor Evans has also been selected.
The news of Billy’s call-up has captured the imagination of the town as in less than two weeks over £1,200 has been raised for his trip and for the team.
Selby chairman Ralph Pearse and first team manager Christian Fox personally invited Billy to the fixture at the Fairfax Plant Hire Stadium after hearing about him being selected for the squad.
Fox presented Billy with a Selby mug as a memento from his visit after the victory (pictured above). Billy also spent a few moments discussing the game with match officials Alex Sawden, Anthony Tierney and George Paterson.
Selby DFC is run by NLY Community Sport - the not-for-profit organisation run by James Grayson and Worsbrough Bridge right-back Connor Rollinson. The pair are also in charge of the sides at Pontefract Collieries and Nostell Miners Welfare, as well as the Junior Disability club the South Yorkshire Superheroes.
James said: “I can’t thank Ralph and Christian enough for making Billy’s day at Selby Town so memorable. Everyone involved with Selby, players, volunteers, officials and supporters were fantastic with him and so generous.
"Ralph, Christian and everyone involved with the club have turned Selby Town into a real community club in the past 18 months.
“He was treated like royalty by every single person connected with Selby.
"I must also praise the match officials. I’ve always said that the majority of referees in the NCEL are a credit to the league and Alex Sawden and his two assistants certainly are. They spoke to Billy and even donated some money.”
NLY Community Sport was established in 2017 and has around 65 participants across their teams. Around 40 of those did not participate in sport until NLY came along. Four of those 40 have either played for the Mencap GB squad or been selected for it in the past two years.
Selby boss Fox said: “I was at the Selby DFC Presentation Night in November when Billy got his letter to say he had been invited to the Mencap GB trials so I saw how much it meant to him.
“Now he’s got selected it is a fantastic opportunity for him to play football abroad at a prestigious competition. James and Connor and all involved with NLY Community Sport deserve a lot of credit as without them, Billy would not have had this opportunity.
“When he got selected, I immediately contacted James to invite Billy and I’m delighted we were able to help Billy, not just financially with the bucket collection, but in making sure he had a memorable day."
Billy is hoping to raise £2,000 - this will cover the costs of his trip and also help with pitch and mini-bus hire costs. He also wants to raise enough to pay for some Selby DFC kit for him and his team-mates.
The donation page is www.gofundme.com/get-billy-on-the-plane-and-help-selby-dfc