Dunfermline Athletic

Pars Worldwide Support

Sunday, 19th Oct 2014

Big-hearted Pars fans across the world help others to follow the team

Big-hearted Pars fans living overseas or outwith Fife, are helping others to follow their team by purchasing a season ticket that can be donated to someone in the local community, who themselves may not have been in a position otherwise to attend East End Park.

What was started as an expat Pars fan initiative with fans from as far afield as South Africa, Japan, UAE, USA and Qatar contributing; ended up also being supported by local Pars fans from Dunfermline, the rest of Scotland and England. A total of 18 Pars fans worldwide have so far sponsored a total of 22 season tickets for supporters. This exceeds the 11 Pars fans that contributed to the first ex-pat sponsor a season-ticket initiative organised through the dafc.net Pars fan website two seasons ago.

Richard Emslie (pictured above) who is based in South Africa, was behind the initiative, supported locally by Billy George and Joe Graham, and he stated:-

“I am absolutely delighted with what has been achieved to date. The passion and generosity of the ex-pat and local Pars fans has been absolutely fantastic, and we are looking at ways of making this a regular exercise for future seasons”.

Along with hundreds of others, Richard contributed to buying the Pars and he is delighted with the way the club is being run since it has been community owned, and the commitment the new DAFC Board has shown to include all Dunfermline Athletic fans in the community no matter how far away they live. He said:-

“I wanted to help some local Pars fans who would not normally be able to follow the team for financial or other reasons (such as a disability or illness) get a chance to attend games, generate revenue for the club and boost our home support in the process”.

In addition to assisting local U 18 and OAP able bodied supporters, our club’s disability champion Ishbel Russell was able to use her contacts to source recipients from local charities, disability groups and those providing support for people with learning difficulties.

Ross McArthur, Director of DAFC added:-

"This initiative further strengthens the community spirit of our Football Club, at a time when many fans are faced with their own financial pressures. This is a way for fans living abroad to give something back to the local community, recalling their own fond memories of attending games at East End Park.”

One charity whose partners are benefiting from the Sponsor a Season Ticket Initiative is Dunfermline Advocacy, a local charity that matches local volunteers (Citizen Advocates) with vulnerable adults (Advocacy Partners) in communities across West Fife to provide invaluable support and friendship. A vulnerable adult could be somebody aged 16 or above who is affected by: disability, chronic illness, dementia, mental illness, learning disability or personality disorder, who are unable to safeguard their own wellbeing, rights, care or other interests.

Elyse Kirkham, Fundraising and Events Officer at Dunfermline Advocacy said:-

"It is an exciting opportunity for our partners; many of whom have not attended a Pars game in the past. It gives them a chance to get involved in the local community and support their team.”

Stephen Paterson, was the first lucky partner from Dunfermline Advocacy to take advantage of the new initiative and visited East End Park for Saturday’s game against Forfar Athletic, Ewan Masson from Dunfermline Advocacy accompanied him.
Stephen commented:-

“I am really grateful to have the chance to go to a Pars game. I am on a budget and couldn’t usually afford it.”

Ewan and Stephen are pictured being welcomed to East End Park on Saturday by local organiser Billy George, our club’s disability champion Ishbel Russell and Director, Ross McArthur.

Another beneficiary of the new initiative is Fife Council’s Adult Resources, Supported Living Division, which provides support for people with learning and other disabilities in their own homes, enabling them to live independently regardless of their difficulties, and to be active members of their local communities. George McLean is another lucky recipient of a season ticket this season, and he too attended Saturday’s game with carer Kevin Boniface. Darren Hindle, Senior Social Care Officer at Fife Council stated:-

“George is a man with a learning disability who has lived in West Fife all of his life. He is a very decent, pleasant person who never complains about anything, despite having had some health issues in recent years. George is a huge football fan and watches every game that he can on TV.

"Although he has some difficulties communicating, when asked about the opportunity of a complementary season ticket for the Pars, his face lit up and his response was that he would love to go to the games. He also made a point of telling all of his family and friends about this, and has not stopped talking about ‘the Pars’ since.

"George went to his first game against Peterhead and Dunfermline won 3-0, which he loved and he can’t wait to go back (I think he now believes that all games will be easy wins). George, his family and the people who support him on a daily basis would like to thank Dunfermline Athletic FC, and its fans, and would like everyone who is involved with the club to know that this gesture is very much appreciated”.

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