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Community football team kicks-off in support of Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

The community-driven football team, Thames Valley Air Ambulance XI, recently registered with the Berks & Bucks Football Association and aims to raise awareness of the vital service the charity provides for the region.

Lead by team Manager Stuart Gibson, the Thames Valley Air Ambulance XI was founded by members of the Thame community after a string of successful Family Fun Days which raised over £16,000 in three years for the charity.

“The first Thame Family Fun Day featured a charity football match to raise funds in support of Thames Valley Air Ambulance and their work within the local community,” says Stuart. “This proved to be really popular and has now evolved from an annual fixture to us playing regular games. There’s a real community spirit within the team and the more matches we play the more opportunities we get to raise awareness of the fantastic service the air ambulance provides.”

Alongside promoting the charity’s work and fundraising through spectator and opposition donations, the team also provides a positive social space for individuals connected to Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Stuart added: “Each of us has been touched by the air ambulance service in some way. Playing for the team allows us to build new friendships and support one another on a personal level while giving back to the charity.”

In October, the team played their first competitive game after registering with the Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Football Association, narrowly losing 4-2 to the formidable MK Benfica Veterans in the Veteran’s Cup.

The team now looks ahead to the 22nd November and their next fixture against the Sands United, a charity football team which raises funds for research into stillbirth and neonatal deaths, alongside providing a safe environment for bereaved fathers and family members to socialise through football.

You can help support us by cheering on the team or dusting off your boots and getting your kit on. Visit the Thames Valley Air Ambulance XI Facebook page for more information on upcoming fixtures and how to get involved.

The squad includes former professional footballer, Craig Faulconbridge, previously of Dunfermline, Hull City and Wycombe Wanderers.