West Lothian footballer makes 10,000 mile trip for charity football match at Hampden
A dedicated football fan returned home to Scotland from Sydney to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime charity football match last night.
Cameron Martin, 23, from Mid Calder, made the epic 10,000 mile journey from Sydney, Australia last Saturday so he would be home and rested in time for the match on Friday.
He took part in the Hampden Charity Challenge which saw 44 keen footballers take part in a match to raise funds in aid of the Scottish FA’s official charity Children 1st, and the Tartan Army Children’s Charity, which is the charity partner of the Scotland Supporters Club, by playing on one of the teams.
Mr Martin played on the Children’s 1st team in the match. To secure a place on the pitch, he paid a donation of £350 which was divided between both charities on top of the £1,100 he paid to make the 24 hour trip home.
Mr Martin said: “I heard about the match because I’m in the Scotland Supporters Club so when I got the e-mail through I was thinking about coming home to visit my family anyway and then I saw the chance to play on the pitch at Hampden.
“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and when I saw the opportunity to take part I thought to just go for it, playing at Hampden is an absolute dream and it helps a charity for a good cause as well.
“This chance doesn’t come round often and not many people can say they have done it.”
To get home in time for last night’s match, and to see Scotland v Cyprus last Saturday, Mr Martin had to get on his flight home from Sydney last Friday night and embark on a 15-hour flight to Doha, Qatar for a two-hour layover.
He then had to endure a seven-hour flight back to Edinburgh.
Mr Martin, who has been living in Australia for the past year on a working holiday visa, has previously played for Mid Calder Colts, East Calder United AFC, Kirknewton AFC and North Perth United in Western Australia.
As well as getting to play at Hampden Park, players also received expert coaching from Scotland coaching legends Craig Brown and Archie Knox.
Ahead of the charity match he said: “Growing up and being in the stands, it’s something I’ve wanted to do.
“Walking out the tunnel will be a great feeling but sticking one in the back of the net would be even better.”
As well as getting to play on the iconic pitch, players also got to keep their own full national team kit, visit the famed Hampden Museum, get changed in the Home and Away dressing rooms and walk out on to the field to the famous Hampden Roar.
Those who wanted to secure a place in the match could either make a one-off donation of £350 which guaranteed their place, but there was also the option to pay £10 to enter a prize draw to win a space on the pitch for which every player was guaranteed playing time.
Paul McKeown, Corporate Fundraising Manager for Children 1st, said: “It’s great to have such a big commitment to come all this way back to support Children 1st and take part in the Hampden Charity Challenge.
“We’re really thankful that Cameron is competing and for all of his effort.”