Brothers Tom (26) and Jack Vickery (17) are taking on the challenge of the Great West Run this October to raise money and awareness for the Adam Stansfield Foundation.
Not content to just set up a fundraising page and put it on their social media pages like most fundraisers would. No, Adam Stansfield means more than that to these two life-long City fans, who have spent that last few months contacting former players and football clubs to find items to auction.
“We decided to try and contact ex-players and clubs to see if they would kindly donate any items to help us raise funds. It’s just taken off and the response has been unbelievable,” said Tom.
“Every player, every club has replied straight away willing to help us and the foundation and items have been coming through my letterbox on a daily basis.”
Tom and Jack Vickery discuss their fundraising efforts
Adam Stansfield scored 39 goals in over 150 appearances for the Grecians, and he was nothing short of adored by the St James Park faithful. His tireless work rate and inspirational positive attitude quickly made Adam a fan favourite.
After helping City to back-to-back promotions from the Conference to League One and scoring eight goals at a level he had never graced before in the third tier, Adam was diagnosed with bowel cancer in April 2010.
The striker’s season was cut short by the diagnosis, but he was back for pre-season training in early July after various treatments. However, Adam’s condition rapidly declined and, after a loss to Ipswich in the League Cup, his death was announced on August 10, 2010.
Adam though, has never been forgotten and he will always remain an integral part of the fabric of our football club. Last year the brand-new stand at St James Park was named the ‘Stagecoach Adam Stansfield stand’ in his honour.
As soon as Adam’s name was mentioned, Tom and Jack began to glow: “Adam’s attitude was amazing. He always had a smile on his face, win or lose, and was always the first player to head over to the fans after a match. His work rate was incredible – he was just a joy to watch”
“When Jack was younger, I was at a couple football tournaments and Adam was there watching his kids. He would talk to and have pictures taken with anyone. He was just one in a million, a fantastic guy and is a legend at every club he’s been part of,” added Tom.
The Adam Stansfield Foundation was set up by Adam’s wife Marie and his immediate family in September 2010 with the aim to raise awareness of bowel cancer issues and to help give young people the opportunity to develop life skills through the power of football.
The Foundation’s aim is to help give young people the unique opportunity to develop life skills, through the power of football and to assist them in their goals of living the dream.
Tom is as passionate about the foundation as he is Adam, he added: “The Adam Stansfield Foundation does incredible work in raising awareness of Bowel Cancer, and keeping youngsters playing football.
“They go to schools to provide goals, football, bibs, everything to keep grassroots football going. That is how Adam started his career. The Adam Stansfield Foundation wristband says, ‘living the dream’ and we want to help make sure others can too.”
The brothers set themselves a realistic target of £1000 when they came up with the idea, this soon raised to £3000 and they have now raised a huge £7,300 with gift aid.
Donations have been pouring in from all over the country, with some items bearing more significance to the two City fans. “We’ve had donations from all sports, but mainly signed match-worn shirts,” said Jack.
“Alex Nicholls donated his match worn shirt from the Liverpool FA Cup 2-2 draw at St James Park. The shirt obviously meant something to him, so donating it to us means a lot too as it shows what they know about Adam and the Foundation.”
One donation has stood out the most to Tom however, who was delighted to be contacted by former City-loan player Jack Stacey.
“I checked my Twitter and had a message request from Jack Stacey,” said Tom with a wide grin. “I had to double take. He wanted to donate his boots that scored the winning goal in the play-off semi-final against Carlisle in 2017.
“They turned up with a note to say, ‘a fantastic foundation, I hope they raise a good amount, all the best, Jack Stacey.”
What a night this was😍 Hopefully this auction will be of interest to #ECFC fans and help @TVickers1 raise some more money for @as9foundation. Doing an amazing job so far for a great cause 👍🏼 https://t.co/tDwt3P3XTy— Jack Stacey (@jackstacey_) February 8, 2019
It is a goal that Tom and Jack remember vividly, recalling that they almost fell down the length of the Thatchers’ Big Bank when the strike hit the back of the net.
Tom was keen to emphasise his thanks for the support from everyone so far. “It really is overwhelming, and I can’t thank every single player and club enough. It’s just incredible.”
“Through Barry McConnell I managed to get hold of an Ethan Ampadu shirt signed by the whole Chelsea squad, which raised £770.
A huge thank you to @ethanamp4 for donating his matchworn shirt, signed by the whole squad. Im auctioning it off for the fantastic @as9foundation please reply or DM me with a bid. Ends Thursday 8PM. #Chelsea #cfc pic.twitter.com/WCFpyeMBTu— Tom Vickery (@TVickers1) February 1, 2019
“Jon Challenor, a close friend of Adam and former teammate donated a signed James Coppinger shirt, a Craig Mackail-Smith signed Wycombe Shirt and Matty Blair’s York City shirt from an FA Trophy final which they won, and he scored in – that raised £500.”
“All these donations just go to show what the players and clubs know about the foundation and about Adam. A lot of players have replied saying that they played against Adam and knew what he was like and were more than happy to help.”
Football is renowned for its rivalries, yet often comes together to show united support for important causes, and Tom and Jack’s fundraising is yet another example of this as local-rivals Plymouth Argyle have been keen to support the cause.
“Plymouth have been brilliant and donated four or five items including signed shirts and goalkeeper gloves,” said Tom. “Torquay straight away wanted to help, especially with Gary Johnson in charge – who gave Adam his first chance at professional football.”
A huge thank you to @davidf0x for donating this signed Argyle shirt for me to auction off for the fantastic @as9foundation please reply or DM with a bid, will end it Sunday 8PM. #pafc pic.twitter.com/vvmxiXbpYX— Tom Vickery (@TVickers1) January 7, 2019
With the half-marathon taking place in October, the boys have a few months to push on with their training but feel the support they have been given will give them an extra incentive.
“The training is going well,” said Jack with a cautious grin. “We’ve done a few runs at the Racecourse but are waiting for the weather to improve so we can crack on with it.
“We are feeling confident though, especially with the amount raised. That will give us an extra ten percent and push us over the line!”
Although Tom and Jack have smashed their original target, they are looking to raise as much as possible. If you would like to donate, please click here.