MOTIVATED youngsters are representing their football club while raising funds for worthy causes.

Whitehaven AFC’s under 12 and 13 girls and their coaches have reached the half-way point of an admirable challenge, running the Road to Wembley and back again.

The girls have endured freezing conditions and icy winds as they add to the 1050km target – the distance between the Whitehaven AFC ground to Wembley Stadium and back again.

Under 12 and 13s coach Rob Campbell said: “The girls have actually completed more miles this week than they did in the first.”

As well as keeping match fit during lockdown, the Lionesses chose to raise funds with the challenge for Macmillan Cancer Support and the Covid-19 wards at West Cumberland Hospital, two causes that they felt compelled to support.

Their fundraising target was £500 but at the half-way point they have already raised £2,045.

Coach Campbell is proud of the girls’ determination: “Personally I live and breathe the girls' football and I know how difficult it’s been for myself, I can only imagine its 10 times that for the girls.”

The challenge has given the girls something to focus on while football is off and the nation is in lockdown.

Campbell believes their training sessions and activities with the club give the players an outlet to “just be girls” – away from the pressures of society.

“I also think it’s given them a lot of hope that it’s on the horizon. It is difficult to find the motivation when when you’re living in a cycle.

“I know from the parents it’s really invigorated a lot of them.”

Under 12s team captain Summer Swinton has already completed her challenge but has decided to continue with the daily runs in support of her teammates who are still completing theirs. A spokesperson for the club said: “The girls would like to thank everyone who has so far donated to their cause.”

As well as a fitness builder and chance to support their community, the Road to Wembley has taught the girls about their sport’s history. Lionesses took a virtual detour on their trip to the Molineux Stadium – home to Wolverhampton Wanderers since 1889. It is a historic venue being the first new build of its kind.

Whitehaven will soon have a new venue of its own as plans are in the works to expand the AFC facility into a multi-sport complex, welcoming various clubs and sporting codes from the area.

Visit the Whitehaven AFC Facebook page for details of how to donate.