Sixteen football players from Serco and the Armed Forces are attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest five-a-side football match in aid of Prospect Hospice, a Swindon-based charity which provides dedicated end-of-life support to the local community.
The match will kick-off at 12:00 on Friday 1 February at the Defence Academy, Shrivenham. Media are invited to send a journalist, photographer or film crew to the event on either Friday 1 February or Saturday 2 February by prior arrangement.
The team aims to play non-stop for up to 48 hours and beat the current world record of 42 hours and 1 minute set in October 2012 by Canadian team, the Cochrane Rangers. During the two-day match, the players hope to score over 700 goals and raise over £1,000 for Prospect Hospice in the process.
The hospice has been the local Serco team's chosen charity for many years, but this particular fundraising opportunity is significant as the charity supported a member of staff who sadly passed away in June last year. Each team will have eight players, of varying abilities and ages, to allow for three reserves on each side. This means that players can get some rest during the game and make use of the beds that will be set up in a room adjacent to the main sports hall. Trainee physiotherapists from Swindon College will also be on hand to ensure that the players remain on top form.
The Serco team is set to comprise two administration staff; one gym instructor; two service desk staff; and three individuals from the event and IT team. The 'opposition' will include both members of the Armed Services and the Civil Service.
Both teams have been undertaking their own training in preparation for the world record-breaking attempt. Many of the Serco players are members of an in-house team so have been using their regular Friday afternoon sessions to practise tactics.
Serco's Luke Mitchell, who came up with the fundraising idea after reading an article about the world's longest five-a-side match, said:
"Prospect Hospice provided our much missed colleague with dedicated care during the last few weeks of her life. This world record-breaking attempt is our way of giving them something back and recognising the dedication of all the volunteers and members of staff who work there. The match is going to be a real challenge of endurance, team work and determination, but it will be worth it to raise money for such a worthwhile cause".