Fundraising football match to help autistic Fife brothers

Finlay and Ben.
Finlay and Ben.

A fundraising football match in aid of two autistic Fife boys will be held at Bayview this weekend.

The Ben and Finlay Challenge Cup was launched in 2013, pitting Police Scotland against the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. The teams have faced off five times in the last six years, with the series sitting at 4-1 in Police Scotland’s favour.

It was set up by Mike Stevens, former Police Chief Inspector in Fife, who has autistic twins, Ben and Finlay, who are now 11 years old. The boys have severe autism, a severe learning disability, hypotonia, hypermobility and dyspraxia.

To help the boys develop, the family undertake a home-based, self-financed behavioural program, which is not funded by local educational authorities in Scotland and requires around £30,000 per year to run which is financed through savings, benefits and fundraising.

“Having support of local teams and businesses and, of course, colleagues from both Police Scotland and Scottish Fire Service, and having the game at Bayview, means so much to me, as I was Chief Inspector at Levenmouth Police Station in 2010.

“That was when the boys were first diagnosed. The words of the paediatrician, who said that my boys would experience significant difficulties for the rest of their lives, still ring in my ears today and have made me more determined to enable and give my boys the chance to reach their potential.”

The organisers have thanked East Fife for their “amazing support” in allowing them to use the team facilities, and also Fifers in The Community for letting them use the pitch. Keith at The Brig and The Taxi Centre have also been thanked for providing sponsorship towards the event, as has Stuart’s for providing food for players.

The game takes place at Bayview on Sunday with a 1pm kick off. The bar will be open during and after the match for refreshments. The game is free to enter.

Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/benandfinlaychallengecup2019.