Alan ‘The Birch’ Birchenall has successfully taken his charity fundraising efforts through the £1million-mark, after the LCFC Foxes Foundation smashed its One In A Million campaign target.
After a season of initiatives aimed at making the Birch a platinum fundraiser in his 40th year with the Foxes, the Foundation have announced an incredible final total of £180,000 – shattering the campaign’s £150,000-goal.
And for Club Ambassador Birch – already an MBE and Freeman of the City after raising £850,000 for charity in the last four decades – that was enough to take him to the magical seven figures.
The £180,000 raised last season will now be split equally between One In A Million’s ten partner charities – organisations carefully chosen at the start of the campaign based on their association with Leicester City, the Leicestershire community and with Birch himself over the last 40 years:
Age UK Leicestershire & Rutland
Leicester Children's Hospital
Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance
Royal Anglian Regiment Benevolent Fund (Lord Mayor's Appeal)
The Harley Staples Cancer Trust
Wishes 4 Kids
Birch said: “On behalf of the Foundation, Leicester City and all of the ten partner charities, I cannot express enough thanks to the fantastic people of Leicester and Leicestershire for their generosity during this campaign.
“When I first began fundraising through the end-of-season run all those years ago, I could never have imagined being at the stage where we would have raised £1million. Now, thanks to the support of our Chairman and Vice Chairman, Vichai and Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn; our Chief Executive, Susan Whelan; and the players, staff and supporters of Leicester City, we’ve done it.
“Aside from that total, the most significant thing is that we have put £18,000 into each of the coffers of ten deserving charities within our community, which I hope will go a long way to helping them achieve their own objectives in the coming years.”
The One In A Million campaign was driven forward by a host of fundraising activities during the 2011/12 season, involving staff from the Club, City supporters and those prepared to donate their time and energy to make a contribution large or small.
Fundraising events that contributed to the total included:
A 24-hour rowing challenge from the Leicester City Academy
Birch’s annual end-of-season run
BBC Radio Leicester’s Ian Stringer running the London Marathon
Birch’s 40th Anniversary Dinner
A team of 11 staff, led by City boss Nigel Pearson, completing the National Three Peaks Challenge
A giant team photo with the City squad and 1,000 fans
“The way the Club, its supporters and the campaign’s ten charities pulled together over the campaign has been absolutely magnificent,” said Susan Whelan, Leicester City’s Chief Executive Officer.
“As determined as we were to hit that £1million-target, raising £150,000 in ten months was always going to be a challenge, so to have beaten that number so emphatically is something everyone associated with the campaign should be immensely proud of.
“It’s been a terrific start for the LCFC Foxes Foundation, but One In A Million is only its first campaign. We’re looking to take this momentum into next season’s fundraising programme, details of which will be announced soon.”
One In A Million’s ten partner charities will all be represented at Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Sunderland at King Power Stadium, where they will all be presented with their share of the £180,000-total.
After a hugely successful debut campaign, the LCFC Foxes Foundation will now turn its attention to its 2012/13 initiative, details of which will be confirmed in the coming weeks.