Words: Devon Cash

Eight-year-old Oliver Banyard raised more than £3,000 towards Worksop Town’s fight against potential closure as he completed his sponsored cycle of 80 laps around the Sandy Lane pitch.

The idea of this began when Oliver overheard his Grandad, Pete Whitehead, speak about the situation of how the Club needed to raise the funds in order to stay afloat – if successful, this would also see Whitehead come in as chairman of Worksop Town.

Oliver cycled a total of 80 laps, which comes to 18.61 miles in homage to the club’s formation, and he completed his campaign an hour before the Tigers kicked off against Newcastle Town to be congratulated by a crowd of supporters upon his achievement.

Oliver, with a beaming smile on his red-cheeked face, said: “It was good, but tiring at the same time. I’m really proud of myself.

“My grandad really, really likes football, I really like my bike riding, so I just thought about riding around the pitch to raise more money.

“I could have gone on more,” Oliver joked. “I could have done 80,000 laps if I could.”

Nicola Banyard was overwhelmed with joy for her son as he completed his challenge.

“I am very proud of Oliver,” said Nicola. “I didn’t think for one minute that he wouldn’t do it, but he has beaten my expectations and has done really well.

“Pete has banged on about the football side and Oliver has heard him talking about Worksop Town and the funds that they needed to raise to stop them from going under.

“Oliver actually said that if his cycle club was to close down, then he would be so upset, meaning he knows how his grandad feels; he came up with this idea and from start to finish, he has been on about it and telling everyone about his sponsor page.

“I thought it was a brilliant idea; it captures both cycling, which he loves, and football, which his Grandad loves, and to do it around the pitch for the fans to see, it was superb.

“The support that we have had has been tremendous. I have been reading the messages out to him, so he has heard what everyone has said and all the thanks that he has had, and I am really grateful for everyone’s support.”

Manager Kyle Jordan congratulated him at the finishing point and welcomed Oliver and his friends to walk out with the players ahead of kick-off.

Jordan added: “What he has done is unbelievable. There are many people that are pulling together to help save the club.

“It is happening too often with Worksop, however this time with the proposition from Pete, there is a real light at the end of the tunnel.

“Oliver was great, he nearly ran me over a few times, I got here really early as I didn’t want to miss him finishing it.

“I’m really proud that there are many people who are willing to help the club in any way. He is only eight and I believe he is doing well with his cycling, so we wish him all the best, and we can only thank him for putting that talent to use to help us out.

“A lot of the boys have sponsored him, but everyone would like to personally thank him.”

We would also like to place on record our thanks and appreciation to Oliver for his generosity and determination to help the club.

You can continue to support Oliver here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/oliver-banyard?utm_term=g4mjNmG3m

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