Deceuninck has donated £500 to the Saints Foundation, a charity set up by Southampton Football Club to help people of all ages and abilities lead healthier, happier lives.
Managing Director of Deceuninck, Rob McGlennon, presented the cheque to Michael Pearce, a volunteer football coach with the foundation who provides football courses to children with disabilities.
Graham Pearce, Michael’s father and Dispatch Manager at Deceuninck, explained why the charity is close to the family’s heart.
“Michael suffers from mild cerebral palsy and learning difficulties, but that has never dampened his love of football,” he said. “Despite the slight impairments to his health, Michael has always loved playing the sport, joining able bodied teams where possible.
“When Michael was given the opportunity to play with the Saints Foundation, it levelled the playing field, and he got so much enjoyment from it.”
Michael quickly proved himself to be a natural talent, and ended up representing England in a CP Football tournament.
“I’m so proud to have played for my country,” Michael said. “No-one can ever take that away from me. And I want to give something back to the football club that I’ve been involved with for such a long time.
“And I want to be able to inspire the young disabled players coming through to show them it doesn’t matter what disability you have, you can still play football.”
During lockdown, Michael did an FA coaching course, and he is now a volunteer coach with the Saints Foundation.
Michael has also become something of an ambassador for the foundation. His story has been viewed more than 1,300 times on YouTube, which was also picked up by the BBC and featured on the One Show earlier this year.
“We are delighted to support Michael in his journey with the Saints Foundation,” Rob McGlennon said. “His determination and spirit of fair play is admirable, and just goes to prove that if you really put your heart into something you can succeed – even if you are faced with challenges.”
To see Michael’s story: https://youtu.be/-GyYRnWZSVE