We are celebrating after being signed up as Grays Athletic Football Club’s (Youth Division) charity of the season.

The partnership will see the charity and the youth division of the club join forces to raise awareness of baby loss and the club's work in the local community. 

The youth division of the club is overseen by the board at Grays Athletic Football Club which is community owned.   

The partnership was established when Mrs Gurjit Thandi from the Essex Sands support group held a bake sale in aid of the charity. 

Gurjit Thandi said: “I like to support charities in the local community and I held a bake sale in aid of Sands recently. My daughters and her friends from her football team helped me out on the day, and they were wearing their Grays Athletic FC shirts as we wanted the club to get behind us.

“I received a call from the chairman of the youth division shortly after, and he said the youth side of the club was interested in supporting Sands for the coming football season, and wanted to help the charity with fundraising and awareness.

“I have since met with the club’s committee and I’ve let them know about the work of Sands locally, and we have discussed different ways of how they can help. I think the partnership is a great opportunity to raise awareness and really get the community to understand what Sands is about.”

Slok Singh, Chair of Grays Athletic FC (Youth), said: “I was made aware of Sands by one of our committee members who has worked very hard to raise awareness and over £5,000 for Sands in the process. 

“As a fitting tribute, I was pleased that my committee unanimously endorsed Sands as our nominated charity for season 2018/2019. Our aims during the season are to raise awareness of the important work Sands carries out in the local community and to raise funds from club organised activities.”

Our Chief Executive, Dr Clea Harmer, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by the youth division at Grays Athletic FC as their charity of the season.

“We hope that by working with the club we will be able to help reach out to bereaved parents in the local community in Essex and to let them know they are not alone. We also hope that with the help and support from the club we will reach our goal of reducing the number of babies that die every day in the UK.”  

Bereaved parents and their families in Essex and the surrounding areas are welcome to drop in for a cup of tea and a chat at a future Essex Sands support meeting, whether you are recently bereaved or long ago bereaved. For further information call 07552 556030 or email: essexsands@hotmail.com   

Picture – (l to r) - Leyla O'Brien, Siân Thandi, Gurjit Thandi and Haneeka Thandi. Siân plays for the under 14s team at Grays Athletic FC (Youth) and Leyla and Haneeka play for the under 15s team.