A FOOTBALL team has taken part in a challenge for charity – inspired by their captain who is out with a serious injury.

Faith Chewings, 15, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in August, and could still be on the sidelines until January.

The injury is the same one that has seen Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk ruled out for much of this season.

Mark Wright, manager of Faith’s team, Didcot Casuals U15 Girls, revealed how big a blow the injury was.

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“It’s the classic ACL, it happened in pre-season in a friendly match and she has been out ever since,” he said.

“Covid has delayed any surgery, and it only took place recently.

“They don’t think she’ll be back until January next year – it all depends on her rehabilitation.

“She’s really struggled but she still comes and watches us from the sidelines.

“We’ve carried on as best we can – she’s a massive player for us, she’s our captain and strong centre half.

“We’ve missed her on the pitch and on the training field.”

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Keen to show their support to their skipper, the team looked at ways they could help Faith.

“It was at Christmas time that we began thinking about raising funds for her surgery, rehabilitation and physio at home,” said Mr Wright.

“We thought abut what we could do and there was lots of different ideas.

“We’d been using the Strava app and it was getting quite competitive with a leaderboard for who had run the furthest each week, so it seemed like the natural progression to do something off that.”

However, rather than accept any funds, Faith decided to give back to the community instead, with the Didcot Emergency Foodbank chosen.

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“I volunteered at the food bank three or four years ago, and it was a suggestion I made to Faith, and she was supportive of that,” said Mr Wright.

“Originally we were going to raise the funds for Faith but she said no and was very happy to raise instead for the local community.

“We decided with the FA Cup final being the biggest day in the football calendar, we would do something then.

“We then looked at how long the girls had been running, and the distance between Didcot and Wembley, and back, was the perfect one.

“All the girls got on board and there was good camaraderie and good competition between them.

“Faith managed to do two or three kilometres on her crutches even though she had only just had the surgery a couple of days before.”

In total, the team raised £1,085.