March 2016 was a particularly poignant month in the long 119 year history of Nailsea United Football Club. The season had seen a big influx of talented and enthusiastic young players, but there were no significant milestones in terms of the Club’s league positions or trophies compared to past campaigns. Essentially, it was an average month in the calendar that was rumbling on towards the closing stages of the season. That was all about to change.
On 14th March 2016, James Colman, one of our brightest and most dedicated playing members, sadly passed away at the age of 22. The tragic ending of such a young life was staggering and incredibly difficult to comprehend. How could this happen to such a happy, fit and healthy young man?
In the wake of James’ untimely death, the Club is to this day, still trying to come to terms with what happened and it’s perhaps true to say that it never will. However, we have found some degree of solace in celebrating James’ life in many ways and we’re about to go that extra mile to honour and remember him, delivering some very important messages and charitable support in the process.
The ‘Colman 4’ Mountain Challenge will be one of our biggest ever charity fundraisers. We wanted to do something a bit different this time and an activity that will capture the imagination of players, supporters and the wider community.
- The idea for this event was born out the fact that James’ shirt number was ‘4’ and at 6 ft 5 inches he was a tall guy. Mountain climbing therefore seemed like a great way to get active and honour his memory away from the football pitch.
- We also felt it’s important that not only fundraising would be pertinent to this challenge, but also to raise awareness. As a Club, we want to see young sportspeople who are not afraid to ask questions about their health and we want to help provide the support to those who are interested in heart screening.
- Furthermore, we will do our best to help people recognise the available routes to how they can learn more about their health and their hearts so that such a terrible tragedy does not get repeated.
As a Club, the motives are obviously very clear for us as we have well over 100 members under the age of 30. Because this is not just about paying a fitting tribute to such a kind friend and talented footballer, but to ensure that any other young footballer or athlete understands the risks and the importance of their health.
So there’s the context of our challenge, now for the details of what we’re going to do!
We’ve likened our new activity to the popular ‘3 Peaks’ Challenge, but as previously mentioned, it felt natural to honour the ‘Colman 4’ by scaling 4 mountains rather than 3, all in the space of 24 hours. Between 30th April and 1st May 2017, members of the Club’s Committee will attempt to conquer 4 peaks in both North and South Wales.
We’ve already assembled our crack team of ‘mountaineers’ but there’s still plenty of ways for you all to get involved…
- Donate! Visit our fundraising page on ‘Virgin Money Giving’ and donate whatever you can. 100% of the funds raised here will go straight to the CRY organisation, which provides such valuable support to young people diagnosed with cardiac conditions and bereavement support to families affected by YSCD.
- Join in! We’re making the last of our 4 walks as accessible as possible for people to come and do a walk of their own. At just over 45minutes from Bristol, our last walk at Sugar Loaf Mountain (near Abergavenny) will be a chance to celebrate the closing stages of the challenge and remember James in your own special way.
- Stay up to date! Keep an eye on our twitter feed for other fundraising ideas as well as updates from the team in their training.
Thank you for your support and here’s to remembering James in what we feel will be our best tribute yet!
Stu and the ‘Colman 4’ Mountain team
Nailsea United FC