An overnight football festival will return to the Highlands next year – bigger and better than ever.
The “insomnia”event is the brainchild of the Inverness Businesses Fives group, which includes the self-proclaimed “Oldest fives team in the world”.
They staged the inaugural Sneckie Insomnia Indoor Football Overnight Festival at Inverness Leisure Centre, Bught Park, in January and raised £17,500 for Chas, the Children’s Hospices Across Scotland charity.
It was the highest amount ever raised for CHAS in the Highlands from a single community-based event, and will help secure the appointment of an additional respite nurse to work from the Inverness base.
Now organisers are hoping to raise even more in January, and revealed their expanded vision at a launch over the weekend.
All of the funds raised will go to supporting services in the Highlands and Islands area.
Youth teams will kick off the carnival and compete until 8pm when adult teams will take over, playing in relays through the night.
Inverness Caley Thistle (ICT) and Ross County football clubs are enthusiastic supporters of the initiative and their youth teams will be competing.
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ICT captain Carl Tremarco said: “The CHAS cause is central to the ethos at our community-focused club throughout all of Highland and everybody from the first team down are very pleased to be take a leading role in driving this innovative initiative for such a vital cause for the second year in a row.”
Gordon Duff, Ross County’s community manager, added: “We hope our participation will also raise awareness of the mission of CHAS – which does amazing work for children and young people with life shortening conditions and their families – among our fanbase.”
Emma Moore, responsible for CHAS northern area fundraising. said: “It is a brilliant idea to raise money which will benefit children across the Highlands and Islands and raise awareness of the work of the charity.
“Chas does vital work for children and young people with life shortening conditions and their families but currently can reach only one in three of the families who need the service. With this support we are determined to reach them all.
“Chas is committed to making sure no matter how short a time a family may have together, it is a time filled with happiness and fun.
Graham Cross, chairman of the Inverness Business Fives Group, said “Our group is made up of people, mainly in their 60s, who simply love playing football and are fortunate enough to have been able to enjoy sport for such a long time.
“Thanks to the support of the local teams who have rallied round, we were able to make a fabulous start last January. With a repeat of their impressive enthusiasm we aim to break £25,000 this time.”