Essex under-10 player has 7.1 million keepie-uppie target
PUBLISHED: 11:30 29 May 2020
A football-loving 10-year-old has captured the nation’s attention during the coronavirus pandemic by raising money for nine charities as she aims to complete one ‘keepie-uppie’ for all of the nation’s 7.1 million key workers, including members of the NHS.
Imogen, a member of the Essex Regional Talent Club under-10s, is attempting to achieve at least 200 each day herself until she reaches the total, but admits she will need some help.
She has asked for pledges from the grassroots football community in the form of their own keepie-uppies on social media, plus donations to her fundraising page.
“I saw Captain Tom doing his challenge. I really admired him for what he was doing and thought I could try and do something to help as well,” she said.
“I love football, so I thought I could do keepie-uppies instead to try and raise money. I chose nine charities which support the NHS and care workers, teachers, the armed forces, police, fire and the air ambulance.”
Imogen is gradually building an impressive collective total and her efforts have been recognised on a national scale, with famous faces getting involved, while she’s also been interviewed on BBC Breakfast as well as appearing on Heart Radio to talk to Amanda Holden and Jamie Theakston.
“It was absolutely fantastic, I really enjoyed doing that interview, and I even did some keepie-uppies along with Jamie live on the radio,” she added.
“I was amazed that BBC Breakfast wanted to speak to me, and on BBC1, too! I liked doing it with my Dad as he used to be a journalist and has been giving me tips which have been really helpful, especially with all the live stuff!
“I have been so touched by all the fantastic support I have received. The thing that keeps me going is all the boys and girls, all the older people, the lady who has just come out of chemotherapy, the granddad who survived Covid, the Soccability clubs, and all the grassroots football clubs who are helping me, who send me videos and keepie-uppies and say such nice things.
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“On top of that, to have some people who I admire send me keepie-uppies as well, is wonderful. I was totally blown away and surprised when England Lionesses Lucy Bronze gave me a call!
“She is one of my idols, is an amazing footballer and has incredible determination. I have even had keepie-uppies from John Farnworth who is a multiple world record holder.
“He managed to do 70,000 keepie-uppies for 11 hours straight without dropping the ball! And I was also absolutely speechless when ex-professional footballer Alex Scott left me the most wonderful message you could ever imagine, saying she supported my challenge. She sent me a video on Twitter which was so lovely. I was literally jumping up and down!
“Nike have been amazing, too. The boots and clothes they gave me help me do loads more keepie-uppies. My Essex RTC teammates have been so supportive! I even had a wonderful letter from the chief executive of the Essex FA Brendan Walshe. It was so nice I pinned it up on my bedroom wall! I’m really excited to be on the website and I really appreciate all Essex’s help!”
Danielle Warnes, Regional Talent Club manager, added: “This is fantastic! Imogen is part of our Under-10s, with Carla Dickinson and Aaron Runnacles as her coaches.
“She currently lives in Cambridge and joined Essex’s Regional Talent Club this year. The rest of the programme are being encouraged to support her with her target!”
Imogen has listed nine key worker charities on her fundraising page, some of which are personally important to her, and she hopes for more donations.
She has already reached her £7,100 target, but her quest is far from over, adding: “If you donate some money, then please donate some keepie-uppies too. It’s nice if people can do both, but I’m happy to get any donation, really!
“Seeing people taking part is really nice. Send me a picture or a video of how many you’ve done and I will put your score against the 7.1 million total. I will post any keepie-uppie pictures or videos you send me on my Twitter, Facebook or YouTube account. And don’t worry if you don’t have a football, use anything that can bounce on your foot!”
You can donate online at http://bit.ly/7point1 and send keepie-uppie pledges of your own to @imogen_ph on Twitter by using the #7MillionKeepieUppieChallenge hashtag.
Further information on grassroots Essex football can be found at www.essexfa.com, by following @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.
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