Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that a record-breaking £818,897 has been raised for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, the Club's Charity of the Season for 2009/10. Thanks to the overwhelming support from fans, players, directors and staff, the Club smashed its £500,000 target.
The money raised through the ‘Be a Gooner. Be a Giver.' campaign will enable Great Ormond Street Hospital to update its current cramped and outdated facilities to build a well planned, modern and spacious Arsenal Lung Function Unit which will be located in the state-of-the-art clinical building (due to open in 2012). The Unit has been specifically designed to cater for the needs of newborn babies right through to teenagers as well as their families. Building work on the new building is already underway.
The money raised smashes all previous fundraising totals for Arsenal's Charity of the Season initiative, which has been running for seven consecutive years. The figure is testament to the many successful fundraising activities which took place throughout the 12 month partnership, including the charity's dedicated matchday - Arsenal v Chelsea - in November 2009. All first team players and directors donated a day's wages to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and supporters were encouraged to do the same. £210,000 was raised in just one day.
Speaking about the partnership, Arsène Wenger said: "It is absolutely fantastic and we are delighted to smash our target of raising half a million pounds for this hospital. The dedication of everyone involved with the Charity and the hospital has been phenomenal and all should be proud of the amazing delivery of fundraising initiatives Great Ormond Street Hospital have introduced to our supporters over the course of the partnership. The fans have been superb with their generosity yet again for our Charity of the Season, and it is thanks to them that Great Ormond Street Hospital patients will have this state-of-the-art Arsenal Lung Function Unit once built."
Dr Jane Collins, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital said: "We are so grateful to everyone at Arsenal Football Club for their support and the fantastic amount of money that has been raised to help us fund a new lung function unit. With Arsenal's help we can vastly improve the facilities for our patients and their families."
Dedicated Gooner Barbara Windsor MBE, British icon, former patient and long-time supporter of Great Ormond Street Hospital said: "I'm so proud, as a life-long fan of Arsenal, that they have raised such an incredible amount of money to support Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, a cause I hold very close to my heart. It's been a while since I was a patient, but on countless visits since, I have seen first-hand the amazing work that goes on. Everyone at Arsenal and all of us fans have helped to make a real difference for thousands of young patients."
Other partnership highlights include ‘Be a Gunner. Be a Runner.'; a ten lap fun-run around Emirates Stadium which raised over £50,000 with over 300 runners taking part. Arsenal's staff were involved yet again this year through the ‘Charity Champion' initiative. Each department within the Club had a nominated Champion throughout the partnership and together, over £40,000 was raised over the season from staff.
Arsenal's Supporters Clubs were also more involved and nearly doubled their total raised for Teenage Cancer Trust last season, contributing a massive £43,000 to the fundraising target. In particular, Arsenal Hampshire Supporters Club's Paul Smith lapped Emirates Stadium 51 times in his wheelchair and raised almost £20,000.
The partnership's finale, The Gunners' World Ball, was held in May at Emirates Stadium. Hosted by TV presenter Dermot O'Leary and attended by the first team, Arsène Wenger and a raft of celebrity supporters, the evening was an outstanding celebration of the success of the partnership. Guests were treated to a performance by The Feeling and over £450,000 was raised on the evening.
With the new season commencing on 14 August 2010, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity will be handing the Charity of the Season baton to Centrepoint, London's biggest youth homeless charity.Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source