FOOTBALLERS traded the turf for the tarmac to raise thousands of pounds for charity this month after their campaign was called off due to the coronavirus outbreak.

With the remainder of this season’s fixtures cancelled, Andover New Street players instead focused their efforts on a fundraising challenge to run hundreds of miles through the streets of the town.

Players have been using whatever downtime they can find to hit the streets - whilst following social distancing guidelines - in the name of a pair of charities.

Together the first and second teams have raised almost £5,000 for the NHS and Andover Foodbank.

First team captain Jamie Coleman said it was the club’s second team, the Swifts, who set the ball in motion for the fundraiser.

“They started their run and I said to the others, ‘look lads, the football season’s cancelled, we should all do something for charity’,” he said, “and before I knew it 11 or so had put their hands up and said they would be up for it.”

The next morning they were up and running, quite literally. The Swifts had set themselves a target of completing 300km in a week, while the first team outlined a goal to run a collective 550 miles over ten days.

With 11 first-team players doing their bit, Jamie says the distance each of them covered was roughly the equivalent of playing a full match for ten days in a row.

And during the final days of the fundraiser, one donor pledged a major donation under the condition that Jamie ran not five, but ten miles on the final day - a challenge he and two others duly accepted.

To date the first team have raised more than £3,500 for the NHS Charities Together, while the Swifts have generated £1,300 for Andover Foodbank.

Jamie says the whole club has been overwhelmed by the community’s support and generosity – especially at such a difficult time.

“It’s a time when nothing’s certain,” he said. “People aren’t working and money’s tight for a lot of people, but they were still just chucking money at it. So we were overwhelmed by the response to the money given.”

Club chairman Martin Tobin added: “The teams’ ideas to utilise their time in this way is truly inspiring.

“The club committee and members are extremely proud of their achievement which highlights the club’s continual aim to support local charities.

“As a Community Chartered Standard Club, it is a privilege to be able to help support our community regularly on an ongoing basis.”

To donate to the first team fundraiser go to and for the Swifts go to