A FUNDRAISER has been launched to ensure that young carers and disadvantaged fans have the opportunity to make it to Wembley and be a part of Leigh history.

Following the Leopard's momentous semi-final over St Helens last month, Leigh will feature in their first Challenge Cup final since 1971.

In order to help as many fans get to Wembley as possible, the Leopards have teamed up with Wigan Council to launch a fundraiser to support those who would otherwise struggle to afford a trip to the capital.

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Leigh Journal: Celebrating the winning try against St HelensCelebrating the winning try against St Helens (Image: SWpix.com)

With the club and council previously working together to support the community's young carers, chairman Derek Beaumont said that the idea came to life after one young carer said he would not be able to afford the Wembley trip.

Both the Leopards and council put forward £5,000 each to get the ball rolling, while local businesses CS Civils & Groundworks Ltd, Impact Insurance and Best Building Supplies also contributed to boost the fundraiser to a start point of £13,500.

Fans, residents and local businesses are encouraged to contribute to the fundraiser, with an estimated cost of around £2000 to send each family to Wembley on club coaches.

Leigh Journal: Chairman Derek Beaumont launched the idea after talking to a young carerChairman Derek Beaumont launched the idea after talking to a young carer (Image: Leigh Leopards)

Leopards owner Derek Beaumont said: “Our relationship with the Council is fantastic and they are extremely supportive of working with the club on our initiatives, as we are on supporting them with theirs.

“Our Community Trust department will work with the Wigan Council HAF team to ensure that the generosity is received in the correct places.

"I would plead for all local businesses in the town to make a pledge, however big or small, and indeed any individual that may want to contribute the price of a ticket, or any percentage towards one, that they can afford.

“When I was talking to one of the young carers at our captain’s run last Friday I asked if they were looking forward to Wembley, almost taking it for granted that, as they were a fan, they would be going. I heard back: ‘No, I wished I could go but we can’t afford to do that.’

“This touched me that the person was giving up his time as a child to raise money for others to benefit from the charity, yet they wouldn’t be going. I want to make sure he and the other children and their families that were there, giving up their time, get to go to Wembley. Furthermore, as many people who would like to go but for their circumstances, [they will also] get the opportunity to do so.

“I was born the year we last went to Wembley and spent my early years in a council estate in Little Hulton with a single parent and had I wanted to go to Wembley to watch my team play, had they got there, it just simply wouldn’t have been possible.

“So, it’s an honour to be able to make that a reality for some families. I appreciate we won’t be able to cover the cost for everyone but the more people and businesses that show their support the further we can reach."

Leigh Journal: The Leopards will sport a special edition kit for the Challenge Cup finalThe Leopards will sport a special edition kit for the Challenge Cup final (Image: Leigh Leopards)

Councillor Keith Cunliffe, Deputy Leader of Wigan Council, added: “We’re absolutely delighted to see Leigh Leopards back at Wembley for the first time in more than 50 years. It really will be a wonderful day and I’m sure the whole of Leigh will be right behind the team as they do their best to bring the trophy back to our borough.

“Our HAF programme is all about giving young people the chance to enjoy experiences they wouldn’t otherwise be able to. While next Saturday’s Challenge Cup Final promises to be an unmissable occasion, we’re well aware that not everybody is fortunate enough to be able to make the trip to Wembley and that’s why we’re proud to be teaming with the Leopards to give more young people and families the opportunity to do just that.

“We’d like to wish Adrian Lam and his team the very best of luck for the big day and we hope those in attendance enjoy every minute and make memories to last a lifetime.”

Anyone wanting to donate can do so by visiting the fundraising page set up to support the initiative here.