by June Callison
It was in France back in 1998 when the Scotland Men’s team made their last appearance at a World Cup, therefore it was only fitting that fast forward 21 years, the Scots made it back to France for a World Cup, only this time it was the women!
SWNT, as they are now formally known, have been greatly improving in recent years. Two years ago, they made it to their first tournament – Euro 2017, which was being held in the Netherlands. After some discussion (and passionate debate!) it was decided that the Sunshine Appeal should donate to a charity in the Netherlands to recognise the team’s achievement and progress. This time, no debate was required, it was clear that the Sunshine Appeal would fully support the women in France.
The journey for the team and many supporters was to start in Nice against the auld enemy. During that particular sojourn, a chance meeting in a pub led to some publicity for TASA on the ‘A View From The Terrace’ podcast – but that is another story, for another time! It was decided that Scotland’s final game being held in Paris would also be the venue for a donation. It also seemed fitting that TASA would donate to the same charity that we met in 2007, with the hope that SWNT could emulate some of McFadden’s magic in the Parc de Princes in the last game of the group stage against Argentina.
Main Dans La Main (Hand In Hand) are a charity working in a number of hospitals across France bringing a little bit of happiness to the children that are undergoing extensive medical treatment. In the charity’s own words: “The volunteers will play games with the children, read them stories, have them draw, paint, listen to them, rock the babies, talk to the new-borns and share a moment with the teenagers. Their reassuring and soothing presence allows children to escape from the reality of the hospital world and escape to a place where they flourish. Whatever his or her ailment, mild or severe, whatever his or her age the child needs to communicate, to escape, to play, to dream.”
So, on the day of the donation, a small group of Scotland fans went along to the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital. They saw the amazing work carried out by the volunteers, before handing over a cheque for £5000. The donation will contribute to one of the charity’s current projects – redecorating a post operation/recovery room to allow the children to wake up to a serene environment where they and their families can feel comfortable. After a tour of the rooms, we were treated to some French hospitality and gifts of teddy bears to thank us for the donation. We swapped stories about our respective charity work and explained more about the history of TASA (in fluent French by Mr John Daly no less!).
We parted ways with the usual high emotions that come from these donations and the hope that we would be able to keep bringing a little bit of sunshine wherever we go.
As for the football, the incredible feeling when Lee Alexander saved that penalty in the last minute was up there with McFadden’s goal in the same stadium in 2007. Unfortunately, VAR played its part and the Scots were sent home heartbroken yet again.
However, at least we made it to the party and the future is looking bright for the women’s team. Maybe the men should take note…
Everywhere We Go!