HARTLEPOOL United manager Colin Cooper said he is “amazed” with the £350,000 raised in just seven years for the foundation set up in memory of his son.
The Finlay Cooper fund was formed in 2006 by Colin and Julie Cooper, who lost their son, Finlay, in 2002, because they wanted to remember him and help children’s charities.
It was boosted recently by Pools fan Paul Smith who completed a 61-mile run between Newcastle United, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Pools – raising close to £3,000 to be split between the fund and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
And Cooper said they are grateful for every donation from third parties such as Paul, known as Lord Smythe.
Cooper, 46, added: “I heard Sir Bobby’s son on the radio saying how pleased they are with third parties who raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and I can only echo that.
“More and more third parties are raising money for the Finlay Cooper Fund and we have been on our feet for seven years now. While we aren’t the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, we have that backing.
“In our own way we have done alright, £350,000 in seven years is amazing, and any contribution is a valuable contribution because the one thing we don’t have is overheads so every penny that comes in goes out.
“Whatever Lord Smythe contributes to our little charity will be used in a really exciting way.”
Trimdon-born Colin Cooper named Paul Smith as head of physical endurance on the team sheet for the recent 1-1 draw with Burton Albion at Victoria Park, and he took his place on the bench alongside the coaching staff and substitutes.
Cooper said: “We only have five members of staff named on our staff sheet so I said to Paul: “We’d like to name you on the bench for what you have done”.
“As well as everything else, he is a Poolie and he had a real ring-side view of what it is like.
“He will have seen the frustrations, the anxiety and the joys of being a football manager.”
The 46-year-old gaffer even used Paul’s gruelling charity run to help inspire his players.
Cooper added: “I’d said to the players the most you will run in the match is maybe 13k, well he has run 60-plus miles so nobody can look him in the eye and say you haven’t given us everything.
“Paul was touched and over the moon we chose to do it but he thoroughly deserved it.”
The Finlay Cooper Fund also received a major boost in the summer when a team, including Soccer Saturday’s Jeff Stelling, led by Cooper and Pools assistant boss Craig climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
Cooper organised the arduous climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in aid of a charity he founded in memory of his son, Finlay, who died aged two in a tragic choking accident.
Their efforts in June helped raise an incredible £100,000 for the Finlay Cooper Fund.
To help boost the cause, donate to Paul Smith at www.virginmoneygiving.com/LordSmythe1908.