You may have heard of Gulls fan Sam Balsdon’s (picture left) fundraising efforts to provide a cover for the disabled section in Bristow’s Bench, and Sam can be very proud of the fact that the first cover has been completed.
Sam and builder Neil Palmer added the finishing touches to the section in mid-December and fans felt the benefit of the cover on Boxing Day as the Gulls saw out a thrilling 4-3 win.
“I’ve raised close to two thousand already through the marathon I did in Spitzburg but I’m just going to keep going. Perhaps in the Spring I’ll look at the section for the away supporters,” said Sam.
“The fundraising began in March. I wanted to do a cover for the disabled supporters because I didn’t like walking past them on the way up to Bristow’s Bench. I thought they should have a roof because my view is that no supporters make more of an effort to get to a ground than what they do. That was the motive behind it.
“I liaised with the various organizations, the Kick It Out campaign, they’ve got a disability awareness section. The Football Foundation, the club [Torquay United], TUST, and now Torquay United Official Supporters’ Club are going to come up with fundraising as well.”
Although the building work for the first cover has been completed, the fundraising must continue to pay the full cost of the structure.
“We haven’t received all of the funding that we need for this bit here but my friend Neil Palmer (pictured right) the builder, is kindly going to wait until more funding comes in so that he is fully paid.
“Neil is a builder of repute from the South Hams area, and he’s been involved with many large projects, all concluded successfully. His son Ed Palmer was on Torquay United’s books a few years ago and almost made it to the 1st team. Neil has been very supportive of the cause and he’s willing to forgo the full payment in anticipation of more funds coming along later on.
“He commissioned another local man; this is a local project, called Richard Ellis of Ellis Engineering and he’s kindly done all of the metal work in blue and yellow. He’s done this at a good price as well. I’ve been fortunate because I’ve had good support from local people and all of the organizations including Torquay United.
As mentioned, Sam’s fundraising efforts continue. He has an idea in the pipeline, called The Cow Pat Challenge.
“A field is going to be divided into a thousand squares and I’m hoping to sell the squares for three pound each. A local farmer is going to put a cow in this field and wherever it drops a cow pat, whoever’s got that square will get a considerable amount of prize money.”
The club would like to thank Sam for his fantastic fundraising efforts and we’ll bring you more on his fundraising efforts in the future.