We are hoping both that Liverpool and Arsenal fans support the appeal - although it's Liverpool fans who have driven the appeal up to this point, we have had an extremely positive reception from Arsenal websites and Arsenal FC, both of whom are keen to be involved. This certainly isn't intended to be a partisan exercise, and is not generic to one group of fans or website or forum - this is about Ray and no-one else. Instead, we'd respectfully ask that you take the time to read this post and if you'd like to help, please do. Ten minutes of your time or 10 quid of your money for the man who scored the crucial goal at Munich in 81 or the title winner at White Hart Lane as part of a double season isn't too much to ask.
The appeal started out of a chance conversation between our very own Karl Coppack and Ray Kennedy's doctor just under two years ago. Ray is Karl's all-time favourite Red and it has always vexed Karl that there had been no update on Ray's condition since the publication of his autobiography 15-odd years previous. Karl emailed the good doctor just asking how Ray was, not really expecting a reply. He certainly didn't expect Ray to give him a call, but that's what happened. Over the next few months, Karl stayed in touch with Ray, and it transpired that Ray isn't keeping too well at all. We wish to respect Ray's privacy, and as a result don't want to give chapter and verse on his condition. Parkinsons Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, characterised by muscle rigidity, tremor, and in extreme cases, a loss of physical movement. Doubly sad when it afflicts a once great athlete. We'll leave it there.
What are our targets? Well, simply as much money for Ray as we can raise within the next 12 months. Sorry to be blunt, but Ray needs financial help to get by. He has not had any significant income since his testimonial in 1991 and had to sell his valued medals in 1993. Your donations will help make Ray's day to day life as comfortable as possible, and will assist with his domestic, financial and medical needs. We have been granted permission by the Parkinson's disease society to fund raise under their banner (this is for, amongst other things, legal and financial purposes). This means that 10% of all monies raised will go to the PDS, with the balance being held on trust for Ray.
The strands of the appeal agreed to date are as follows:
- Paypal account set up for online donations - please pay all donations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, please pay direct contributions to the Ray of Hope Appeal c/o HSBC account 21817299 sort-code 40-03-27. Paying direct or doing a bank transfer will avoid paypal commission. We will be maintaining an email circulation list to keep everyone updated on a quarterly basis as to the funds held.
- Ray of Hope Appeal launch night at Anfield after the Middlesbrough game on February 23rd, supported by Reclaim the Kop. This will take place in one of the suites in the Centenary Stand, and will include live music, ex-players, an auction and a raffle. This promises to be a great evening so please keep an eye on www.raotl.co.uk for details of how to purchase tickets in the next few weeks.
- Collecton buckets at Anfield pubs. The Hillsborough Justice Campaign have kindly offered to provide us with their closed collection buckets which will be distributed at pubs around the ground at a match in the next few months. If you see one of these buckets before the match, please have one less pint or don't buy the programme, and instead throw a few quid in.
- 92 ground car dash around the Emirates game in April. This does what it says on the tin. We are writing to every club in the football league requesting support for Ray, and will be touring each ground in the space of 5 days to hopefully collect donations and memorabilia which we can then auction off to help Ray in the following months and through to next Christmas. The intention is to support the tour with local newspaper coverage and sponsorship via the justgiving.com site. Again, more to follow over the next few months.
- Tales from the Travelling Kop. Being released to coincide with the official start of Liverpool's coronation as European Captial of Culture, Tales From The Travelling Kop is a compilation of supporters' experiences at Liverpool away games over the past four decades. Available from the Walton Breck Road website on Saturday 12th January 2008 with all proceeds from the sale of the book going to the Parkinson's Disease Society and the Ray of Hope Appeal, set up to help former Red Ray Kennedy who is battling Parkinson's. Tales From The Travelling Kop costs £18 and is a must for any Red.
- Liverpool/Arsenal fanzine game on the day of the Emirates match in April.
- End of season fundraiser at the Olympia after the Man City game on the 2nd May. The intention is that this is to be purely a fans' night. Again, please keep an eye on the boards for details of how to purchase tickets in the next few months.
- The HJC shop are selling Ray shirts at just £12 a pop. It' be great to see some of these on match days to keep the Appeal noticeable. The money there would also go to a great cause.
Many thanks to everyone who has helped so far, especially the Liverpool New York Supporters Club (for their generous donation), Matt Richards (for designing the appeal logo), RTK, and the Parkinsons Disease Society and Hillsborough Justice Campaign for their support and assistance with the logistics of it all.
Finally - one housekeeping point - as we are fund raising under the Parkinsons Disease Society's banner, any events must be done with our endorsement. If people want to help in their own way (for example, a supporter's club organising something), then that is great - but please, please contact us and keep us in the loop before you start anything up or post anything in relation to the campaign elsewhere - everything needs to go through us centrally.
We welcome all comments, enquiries, suggestions and feedback to email@example.com.
The Ray of Hope Appeal
(also a group on Facebook, if you're on there)
P.S. No thieving scouser jokes please - time, place, and all that.