PUPILS from across Huddersfield will be joining an army of 23,000 Huddersfield Town fans at Wembley today – thanks to cash raised from a 200-mile bike ride.
Huddersfield Town chairman Dean Hoyle and a team of cyclists – dubbed the Magnificent Seven – pedalled their way to Wembley Stadium yesterday ahead of today’s play-off final against Sheffield United.
And they were delighted to have smashed their £45,000 fundraising target to help send 1,000 local children to Wembley for the most crucial match of the season.
Youngsters from Almondbury Junior School were among those lucky enough to be handed tickets.
Teacher Rachel Jillott said 24 children and their parents would be travelling down today on a coach paid for by the club.
She said: “They are children that maybe wouldn’t have had this opportunity for a variety of reasons.
“They are very excited about it. A lot of them have face paints and balloons. It is going to be a long day, but they are all really looking forward to it.”
Children from seven schools including Christ Church Woodhouse, Crosland Moor juniors, North Huddersfield Trust, Dalton junior and infants, Rawthorpe juniors, Westborough High School and Deighton Community Centre were given the chance to cheer on the players at Wembley with free tickets and coach travel.
Town footballing legend Andy Booth was given the job of presenting the tickets.
He said: “It’s an absolutely amazing effort, not just from the seven cyclists but also from everyone who has donated money to this incredibly worthwhile cause.
“I consider myself lucky to have the job of delivering tickets to the schools and making a lot of local kids very, very happy.”
Dean and fellow cyclists Richard Noon, Graeme Lee, Mark Ronan, Mark Lee, Luis Alcantarilla, Stephen Beck, Steve Dove and Derek Highe started their gruelling challenge on Wednesday from the Galpharm Stadium.
Derek and Steve took part in only the first 52 mile-leg of the journey to Worksop because of work commitments.
The other seven continued, stopping at Peterborough before completing the final leg of the journey to Wembley.
Dean, who only finished the 260-mile Pedal 4 Pounds 3 challenge from Yeovil to Huddersfield earlier this month, said the idea for the Wembley challenge came as the result of a rash promise he made if Town reached the final.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/roadtowembley2012 or donate to the campaign by texting WEMB95 £5 to 70070.