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Coventry get on their bikes for charity
 Women's Football News 24 Jan 2013
Coventry City Ladies are aiming to go the distance on Saturday, as they take part in a sponsored cycle for charity. 
The event will take place in the Lower Precinct of the city centre, and will see players from the FA Women's Premier League side attempt to cycle as far as possible, to raise money for the NSPCC, and to help the club run until the end of the season.
The Sky Blue Ladies have struggled to raise the money to help them stay afloat, after losing their main sponsor last summer, and so far this season have held two 'bucket shakes' at the Ricoh Arena on matchdays, to raise much-needed funds. Women's football suffers massively in comparison to the male counterpart, with recent figures revealing that it cost the Sky Blues around £40,000 to run the club last season.
£8,000 was spent on transport to away first-team fixtures alone last season, and the club will face a similar bill this campaign with lengthy travelling to Cardiff City and Sunderland to come in the approaching weeks.
On the pitch however, the club has thrived since making the step up to the Premier League in the summer of 2011. Last season they finished just one point off third position in the league, as well as clinching the Birmingham FA County Cup with a 1-0 victory over local rivals Aston Villa.
Under the stewardship of Chris Holloway - who took over from previous manager Paul Cudby in November - the club currently sit in 6th position in the league table, and are unbeaten in six cup ties so far in the current campaign.
Money will also be raised for the NSPCC, that will help support the charity's centre in Coventry - Boole House - that is delivering vital services to help the most vulnerable local children, young people and families. The pioneering new services at the centre help protect children from sexual abuse and work to keep children safe from neglect. Services at the centre also work with parents where drug or alcohol problems are an issue, help keep babies safe from harm and help families where parents experiencing mental health problems are affecting family life.
NSPCC fundraiser, Jenny Sedgwick, said: "On behalf of the NSPCC, I'd like to wish the players the very best of luck for their sponsored cycle on Saturday. I am sure there will be some weary legs by the end of the day, but these players are not in the Premier League for nothing. I'm sure their proven commitment, determination and stamina will shine through while they're clocking up the miles.
"Crucially, the money raised through this event will go towards supporting the NSPCC to help the most vulnerable children in Coventry. Through our frontline services in the city, we are working tirelessly to prevent abuse and protect children from cruelty, so we're hugely grateful to Coventry Ladies FC for their support."
The event will also promote awareness of 'Show Racism the Red Card' - an anti-racism charity that uses sportsmen as role models to educate against the problem. The Sky Blues already have links with the organisation, with the club supplying two players to partake in a question and answer session with young people in October.
Gavin Sutherland - campaign worker for the organisation - said: "Events like this are a great boost to the campaign and we are thrilled that Coventry City Ladies FC are doing this. I think the more people that come into contact with a positive message about the campaign is a great help to us and combating racism. I hope that we will be able to continue to build on the links between Show Racism the Red Card and Coventry City Ladies over the coming years.
''When Natasha Lynch and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk came to our educational event at the Ricoh Arena and joined a panel to take questions from young people with Jordan Clarke and Cody McDonald, it had a really positive effect on the pupils."
There will be a variety of ways to support the team throughout the day, including 'guess the mileage', with great prizes for the winners. There will also be raffles throughout the day, with prizes including: a signed photo of Sir Bradley Wiggins, a football signed by the first-team squad of Coventry City Football Club, a box to watch the Sky Blues at the Ricoh Arena, afternoon tea for two in the Garden Room at Coombe Abbey County Hotel and 3 months membership at Coventry Sport Foundation facilities, amongst others. There will also be a special appearance from Sky Blue Sam, the official mascot of Coventry City FC.
The event will take place in the Lower Precinct and start at 10am, carrying on through until 4pm. Please see www.cclfc.co.uk for more details. (Jonathan Hooke)

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