James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Football fans raise over £8,000 for boy whose mum couldn’t afford match tickets
16 February 2022, 17:48 | Updated: 17 February 2022, 18:29
Football fans have raised more than £8,000 for a young boy called Joe who couldn't afford to watch his team.
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Swindon Town FC fans have so far raised £8,387 and rising for young Joe after he sent a letter to the club saying he could not afford match tickets but nonetheless managed to find 26p to send to his favourite player.
The club has reached out to fans online to try and track down the little boy, who said in a letter that his mum did not even have enough money for food.
The club said it wanted to track down young Joe, and pay for him to be a mascot for their game against Forest Green, but they were struggling as he didn't leave a return address.
A football fan named Mark Bevan went on to create a fundraising page for the boy. And other fans showed their support.
Mark wrote: "Swindon Town FC have been contacted by a young boy called Joe who unfortunately doesn't have the privileges of being able to attend football matches!
"This is where football comes together. Lets all get together and fund for Joe & his family to attend a game & for Joe to be mascot for the day giving him an experience for life!"
Joe's note read: "Mummy doesn't have any money to come to Swindon games because she has no money for food and has to pay for my dinner at school.
"I like Swindon Town [and] Harry McKirdy.
"I will come one day," he wrote.
Attached were three coins - a 5p, 1p and 20p - intended for the player.
📢 | We have received this letter from Town fan Joe, aged 6 and a half.— Swindon Town FC (@Official_STFC) February 15, 2022
We'd really love to get in touch with Joe, but we don't have a return address.
If anyone recognises the writing or thinks they know who Joe is, please email email@example.com#STFC 🔴⚪️ pic.twitter.com/JFgLgNm2Lz
Swindon Town have also teamed up with Swindon Town supporters' group Great Western Reds to set up a food bank donation point with the Swindon Food Collective.
The club tweeted: "With Joe sending his letter to the club, and the struggles that many families have, working with @GWReds we are joining forces with @FoodSwindon and will be looking to set up a food bank donation point at the CG supporting this great local charity."
The supporters' group called on fans to "bring some tins and anything else on a matchday" as part of their ongoing support.
Following the outpouring of support over the letter, Swindon Town later issued an update, saying: "We would like to thank everyone who has reached out in our search for Joe.
"We are currently still searching for Joe and his family and, once we have made contact, we will be ensuring that they get to a game in style and are well looked after by the club."
Footballer Harry McKirdy - who was recently named the PFA player of the month for League Two - urged fans to "find little Joe".
He said on Instagram: "Help us find little Joe please! We'd love to help him out and get him to some games!"