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St Cadoc's Youth Club on the march

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St Cadoc’s Youth Club celebrated raising £16,000 for charity last week with a cheque handover at Grand Central Hotel with Rangers' striker Kenny Miller and PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart.

The East Renfrewshire club raised £24,000 in total at a Gala Dinner, and donated £8000 each to the Beatson Cancer Centre and St Andrew’s Hospice. The eye-watering sums are a mark of the fantastic progress the club has made in recent years.

The club was founded in 1987 by Mr David Jones to give youngsters a chance to play both football and netball. However, it now welcomes kids from across East Renfrewshire and beyond, with some travelling from as far as Greenock to be part of the club.

This is reflected in the participation numbers, with the club almost doubling in size in the past five years, going from 400 to nearly 800 registered players from the ages of five to twenty.

So what is the secret to their success?

Firstly, there has been a drive to increase the quality of coaching. Former Aberdeen and St Mirren midfielder Ricky Gillies was appointed as Director of Football and coach of the under 19s side.

Soon after David Elliot, formerly of Celtic, Partick Thistle, and St Mirren, was brought on board to coach a 2001s team, who top the Paisley and Johnstone District League. While ex-Queen's Park player Dom Callan also coaches a table-topping 2001 team in Division 3.The coaching at the club, as well as an abundance of talented players, has seen some youngsters progress to the professional game, including Partick Thistle defender Liam Lindsay who has scored seven goals in all competitions this season.

In addition, the club’s progressive outlook and sense of community has been an integral part of its exponential growth. Local businesses have queued up to support the cause, which allows the club to pay for equipment and other essentials, while maintaining low playing fees in order to maximise participation and ensure nobody is excluded.

Another heart-warming example of the club’s ethos is when Leigh Griffiths came to give out awards to players and presented a Special Merit Award to 11 year old Kerri Halpin for her bravery in fighting cancer.

And it is to these causes that the fundraising arm of St Cadoc’s has turned to, most recently in raising the £16,000 for charity at the Gala Dinner in January at Grand Central Hotel, with 360 tickets selling in just 48 hours. The club managed to put together a brilliantly successful evening which included appearances from football stars of the past and present.

Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld, plus other ex-Celts Andy Walker and Murdo MacLeod were in attendance as were current players Massimo Donati, Stephen Pearson , John Rankin , Ryan Stevenson, St Johnstone duo Liam Craig and Zander Clark and Hamilton captain Mikey Devlin.

Such an impressive line-up speaks volumes for a club with an ambition to achieve big things both on and off the pitch. And rest assured, they are not minded to rest on their laurels, with training sessions planned with other stars of the Scottish game.

Yes, St Cadoc’s Youth Club are certainly on the march.

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