PJ Heslin from Maynooth, Co. Kildare got a once in a lifetime opportunity to personally meet Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard at Richmond Park in Inchicore this weekend after winning a nationwide MACE competition in which one child was selected for an exclusive ‘meet and greet’ with the football great. The competition was run to coincide with Irish Autism Action’s ‘Steven Gerrard & Keith Duffy Charity Weekend’ sponsored by MACE.
PJ, aged 8, entered and won the competition after purchasing a bottle of MACE water, in which 10c from every bottle is being donated to IAA. He wasn’t the only one to score from the competition, with another 25 lucky runner-ups winning signed jerseys from their football idol. The young prize winner was joined by crowds of supporters at Richmond Park in Dublin, home to St Patrick’s Athletic, for an 11-a-side charity tournament where Steven Gerrard was in attendance. Special guests Brendan O’Carroll, Jack L and Jason Byrne also sent their support to the special fundraiser throughout the course of the weekend.
MACE recently announced Irish Autism Action (IAA) as its official charity partner for 2012/2013 in which the community store network has set a fundraising target of €100,000. This is the first time MACE has formally partnered with a charity at national level, in which the proceeds of its various fundraising efforts at national and local level will go towards helping the Irish organisation carry out its important work.
Alex Banahan, Sales Director, MACE said “We were delighted to give young PJ the chance to meet his footballing hero and we are very thankful to Steven Gerrard who has given up his time to support the MACE fundraising initiative for our national charity partner, Irish Autism Action”.
Steven Gerrard said, “The whole trip to Ireland has been an absolute pleasure. The support myself and my team have received has been immense, and I hope between Steven Gerrard Foundation and the IAA we can raise more awareness of Autism and obviously more funds to support this much needed cause. I hope to return to Ireland in the future.”
Collection boxes are located in MACE stores nationwide. For more information on IAA or to make a donation visit www.autismireland.ie.