A mountainous challenge for 'respects' schoolboys

Oxford Mail: Oxford City Blues under-10’s football team with Chris Chesterman, right, Jim Brown, left, and Adam Chesterman, 10, front Buy this photo Oxford City Blues under-10’s football team with Chris Chesterman, right, Jim Brown, left, and Adam Chesterman, 10, front

NINE young footballers will pay their respects to those who sacrificed their lives in the First World War by placing a poppy cross on the top of a mountain.

Members of Oxford City Blues under-10 team will climb Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, this month.

The boys, and some of their parents, will tackle the 1,085m mountain on June 22 – the day after playing in a Welsh football tournament.

They will also raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Manager Chris Chesterman organised the climb as part of a commemoration to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.

He said: “We were looking at going to play a football tournament in Wales and were offered a place in Llewod Llanrug Welsh football tournament.

“I then thought while we are in Snowdonia, why don’t we climb Snowdon. I asked the kids and they said we could do a sponsored climb.

“As a group, the Royal British Legion is often overlooked by youngsters and with it being the 100th anniversary of 1914 we decided to raise money for them.”

The group expect to climb the mountain in about two-and-a-half hours and will place the poppy cross on the summit.

Mr Chesterman said: “Climbing Snowdon is no mean feat — especially when you are only nine years old.

“I have done it a couple of times and it’s very difficult — it’s like walking upstairs for two-and-a-half hours.

“I don’t think you can prepare much for mountain climbing in Oxfordshire.

“The boys are generally fit, we’ve got lots of parents coming so I’m more worried about them.

“We focus strongly on the team being a social group as well as a football team.”

They hope to raise about £1,000 for the Marston branch of the Royal British Legion.

The group will be waved off by members of the Marston branch, who have agreed to treat them to a cola before they leave.

Players, who head off to Wales on Friday, June 20, will play their football matches on the Saturday.

Then they plan to wear their bright red poppy T-shirts on the Sunday morning ready for the big climb.

This season, the team won their first league contest, the Oxford Mail Youth League Spring E League. A presentation takes place soon.

On the social side, the team, many of whom have been playing together since they were five, have been to two England under-21 international football matches, camping in Weymouth and watched the Britain’s Strongest Man competition.

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