Festive Friends is a brilliant opportunity for football clubs to give back to their local communities.
The programme is now in its sixth year, and the Blue Toon was one of 41 SPFL clubs to take part this year.
Ordinarily, Festive Friends with Peterhead FC takes place at Balmoor’s Bloo Toon Lounge, where participants enjoyed a tasty Christmas lunch, Christmas carols from Buchanhaven School Choir and a club gift, as well as the means to get there and home. Over 400 people enjoyed the initiative in the last five years.
Physical distancing rules due to the Covid-19 pandemic meant that wasn’t possible in 2020 and 2021, so Peterhead FC flipped the entire operation, and headed put into its communities to make dozens of doorstep visits.
Festive Friends at Home not only delivered Christmas hampers; it was about delivering compassion, patience and kindness.
Speaking about the initiative on the club’s website, Community Liaison Officer Nat Porter said: “We were delighted when the SPFL Trust decided to continue Festive Friends. It has always been very popular and well received in the community.
“On December 14, with the help of chairman Rodger Morrison, team manager Jim McInally, directors Les Hill, Harry Fraser and Charlie Watt, local councillor Dianne Beagrie, the local Deep Sea Fisherman’s Mission and myself, we delivered the grand total of 129 hampers in the Peterhead and surrounding areas.”
Most of the recipients were over 65 years old and included a 98-year-old and a 92-year-old. One worthy recipient was “absolutely chuffed” with the hamper and delighted to meet manager Jim McInally in person.
Amongst the recipients were three residents at the local care home, Allendale.
“Another recipient was an ex-fisherman, who has hit on hard times,” said Nat. “His wife came to the door and she was delighted that Peterhead FC was helping the local community, and in particular the elderly ex-fishermen who have lost their jobs in the past few years.”
Nat thanked Jim McInally, the charman and the board of the club for giving their time to help with the deliveries. Jim has been at all five Festive Friends and is a great supporter of all community activities.
Local councillor Dianne Beagrie was brilliant in using her many contacts to identify worthy recipients and also help with the deliveries, while the latest participants of Football Fans In Training and players, along with Anne, David, Ian and Steven, helped put together the hampers.
Thanks also go to John at Strachans, Mark at Stella’s Voice and kitman Marco for providing the contents of the hampers, and partners Peterhead Boys Club, RNLI, NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Council for supporting the initiative.
Nat concluded: “In summary it was a great team effort which brought a doorstep chat and a smile to a lot of lovely people. We are delighted that Peterhead FC managed to do something again this year to support the elderly and isolated in our local community.”
• You can read more about Festive Friends and the community work of Peterhead Football Club at the website www.peterheadfc.org.