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Brighton & Hove Albion fans show their support for Albion in the Community

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Generous Brighton & Hove Albion fans donated more than £15,000 to Albion in the Community (AITC) at the Seagulls’ home game with Everton.

AITC held a bucket collection before and after the 1-1 draw, while a silent auction took place in the American Express Community Stadium lounges prior to the match.

Supporters were encouraged to bring a £1 donation with them to the stadium and the message certainly seemed to have hit home, with AITC collecting more than 5,000 individual £1 coins.

In fact, the charity collected almost 14,000 separate coins of varying values. The total was also boosted by more than £1,200 donated by Seagull Travel passengers on their buses to the match.

The total of more than £15,000 will help fund the charity’s award-winning inclusive football sessions for people with a disability and other work across Sussex.

AITC is the largest provider of football opportunities for people with a disability in the area and runs 25 regular sessions throughout the county. A regular session can cost on average between £2,800 and £5,000 a year to run, so to generate more than £15,000 at Sunday’s game will have a genuine impact on the charity and its work.

As well as the bucket collection and silent auction, AITC also used the matchday to highlight some of its work and celebrate the achievements of a number of its players. Reece Meyer, who plays for Brighton & Hove Albion Down’s Syndrome FC, was interviewed on the big screen before kick-off and also selected the game’s Man of the Match, while Ben Moore, who attends AITC’s sessions for junior amputees, was among the mascots. Oli Turnball, a regular at the charity’s session for people with learning disabilities, was introduced to fans at half-time, and Perry Powell, an AITC coach with an inspirational story, was featured in the match programme.

Matt Dorn, the charity’s chief executive officer, was delighted with how the fundraising went. He said: “Once again we have been blown away by the generosity of Albion fans.

“Every season without fail, Brighton & Hove Albion fans show their support for the club’s charity. The amount raised on Sunday will make a big difference to the charity so, on behalf of everyone at AITC and the many thousands of people we work with each year: thank you.”

The shirts worn by Brighton & Hove Albion FC will now be donated to AITC and auctioned online, meaning the total raised will increase further.