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Classy Leigh Leopards to provide Wembley travel for disadvantaged families

For many rugby league players and fans a trip to Wembley means one thing and that’s the Challenge Cup Final and for the majority it’s a dream to witness their side play under the iconic arch. Some sides may see that more than others such as ‘cup Kings’ Wigan Warriors whilst for others it’s once in a  generation, but either way it’s always special.

One team who will be heading to Wembley this year for the first time in a generation or two are Leigh, with their last appearance in the final being in 1971, over fifty years ago.

Of course the Leopards, as then Centurions, did make the 1895 Cup final last year but it wasn’t played at Wembley, like it will be this year.

Seeking that infamous trophy for the first time since 1971 the Leythers are expected to travel in huge numbers to support their side with the team on a rollercoaster of a season and reaching heights they couldn’t have imagined.

Having been promoted to Super League the Leopards were touted for the drop but with seven rounds to go they are firmly inside the playoffs sitting in third and heading to face Hull KR in just 10 days time.

It’s been an incredible season and the man behind not just bank-rolling it but making it so special is Derek Beaumont.

Beaumont and the club have now worked with Wigan Council, as they have done in both clashes with Wigan this season to aid young carers in the community, and they will now be putting on coach travel for disadvantaged families that otherwise couldn’t go.

The club announced the brilliant scheme via their Twitter feed and website.

In a statement the club also added that they’ve started the fund but they’re inviting business owners and fans who can afford to do so, to donate to help make something special for a fan who otherwise couldn’t afford to do so.

“The club and Wigan Council, through their Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) scheme, have each put £5,000 to the cause to get the ball rolling and local businesses CS Civils & Groundworks Ltd, Impact Insurance and Best Building Supplies have already increased the fund with their pledges. This means we start at £13,500. It costs around £2,000 to put on a coach to return families on the day, so we can already give many families a special day out.”

That pot has now grown per Beaumont who tweeted about the great reception they’d had to the initiative.

Overnight the pot had grown by almost £10,000, a huge figure and one that will provide plenty of fans with a great opportunity.

Explaining the motivation behind doing the deed, Beaumont explained: “When I was talking to one of the young carers at our captain’s run last Friday I asked if they were looking forward to Wembley, almost taking it for granted that, as they were a fan, they would be going. I heard back: ‘No, I wished I could go but we can’t afford to do that.’

“This touched me that the person was giving up his time as a child to raise money for others to benefit from the charity, yet they wouldn’t be going. I want to make sure he and the other children and their families that were there, giving up their time, get to go to Wembley. Furthermore, as many people who would like to go but for their circumstances get the opportunity to do so.

“I was born the year we last went to Wembley and spent my early years in a council estate in Little Hulton with a single parent and had I wanted to go to Wembley to watch my team play, had they got there, it just simply wouldn’t have been possible.

“So, it’s an honour to be able to make that a reality for some families. I appreciate we won’t be able to cover the cost for everyone but the more people and businesses that show their support the further we can reach.”

The Leopards play Leeds Rhinos on Sunday, just less than a week before their huge fixture at Wembley against Hull KR with the club also set to wear a bold new kit, one that the fans have gone wild for as seen here.

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