Army man to trek through grassroots clubs from Poolfoot to Clifton to raise money in memory of Jordan Banks
A Poulton Blacks coach and British Army soldier will trek from Poolfoot training ground to Clifton FC with 44lbs of weight on his back in memory of young footballer Jordan Banks.
Wes Owens, 40, will set off from Poolfoot training ground at 7am on Sunday with the intention of visiting all nine local clubs to raise money for a fundraiser set up for Jordan who was tragically killed by a lightning bolt as he played football on Tuesday evening.
He will travel to Blackpool Rangers, St Annes Purples, the Spirit of Youth, Kirkham, Fylde FC, Poulton Town FC and Poulton Centre before finishing at Clifton FC, where Jordan played for the U9 Bees team.
There, a Liverpool FC shirt and scarf will be laid in honour of the Stanley Primary School pupil, who supported the team.
Wes, who coaches the under-14s at Poulton, said: "On Tuesday, my son was playing in the Carleton cup final at Highbury in Fleetwood, and while they were warming up the lightning was quite close. After the final we found out what had happened. I thought that could have been my son. That could have been anybody training that night.
"Our grassroots clubs are close-knit. The kids know each other, they play each other on school football teams, or they go to the same schools. After what happened on Tuesday, football was forgotten. Everything was about Jordan, and what a tragedy it was. It goes to show it's a very close community. Everybody was thinking of Jordan that night.
"Jordan left sweets on police cars for police officers. He raised more than £2,300 for charity. What nine-year-old does that? To do all that in his short life, I think he is an inspiration for other kids."
Ian Carr, whose son Charlie plays for the Poulton Blacks' under-14s team, said: "Everybody is pulling together. Grassroots football is one big community family, no matter what team it is or where it is in the country. We have one common goal, to let kids flourish and have a good time, and learn team skills and community values at the same time.
"They are building confidence by playing with kids from different counties. So when one kid passes away in such a tragic way, like Jordan, it affects all of them. We all mourn. We all pull together. Whether it's Poulton or Clifton, it makes no difference."