By Kevin Unitt 24/04 Updated: 24/04 14:49
IN EARLY June 2011, just weeks after the murders of James Cooper and James Kouzaris, friends of the pair launched a new charity in their memory.
Always A Chance, provides grants to projects in the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire area - from where the pair were from - which aim to educate young people on the dangers and consequences of becoming involved in violence, or which work with young people not in employment or full time education.
It also provides grants to victims of serious violent crime or their families for such things as funeral expenses, the cost of bringing those killed abroad back to the UK, counselling and physical rehabilitation.
A series of fund-raising events have been held across the area in recent months to raise cash for the charity, including a group of nine of Mr Cooper’s friends born and raised alongside him in Kenilworth tackling the 10km Two Castles Run.
In October last year the Observer was proud to carry an appeal from the charity for votes as it sought to secure £6,000 of funding via a Natwest Community grant, which it eventually did achieve.
A spokesperson for the charity - which is backed Mr Cooper’s parents Sandy and Stan - said the money would be used to "continue to build our relatively new organisation still further. Our aim is to create a legacy for two inspirational men and be a positive force in the fight against violent crime.”
More recently, in a major fund-raising event which is still going on, a relay around all 92 league football grounds is being held.
The 12-week event, which started at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium and has passed through Ricoh Arena, where James Cooper would regularly attend as a season-ticket holder at Coventry City.
The relay, backed by the Premier League and the Football League, is also going through many of the cities affected by last summer's summer riots with proceeds going towards funding projects working with young people not in full-time education or employment or who have recently left custodial care.
Joe Hallett from the charity told us: “This relay kind of sums up their personalities, they were both fun-loving guys who loved football and sport in general.“
Visit www.92clubrelay.org.uk to find out more.
Visit www.alwaysachance.org.uk for more information about the charity and how to donate to it.
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