Leeds United fanzine makes champion fundraising effort for good cause

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Leeds United fans have shown they are top of the league for generosity by raising more than £2,600 in aid of the Leeds Children’s Hospital Appeal.

More than £1,500 was raised through an online prize draw, which was organised by United fanzine The Square Ball and gave supporters the chance to win five limited edition calendars signed by Leeds cult hero Gaetano Berardi.

One of the winners, Keith Shapely, then raised nearly £150 himself by making his calendar available as the prize in another online draw.

One hundred per cent of the profits from recent sales of mugs and other Square Ball merchandise added a further £1,100 to the final total.

Paul O’Dowd, co-editor of The Square Ball, said: “From a quick idea in the pub, we hoped to raise a few hundred quid but it just snowballed into an amazing amount.

“The response from people was amazing and way beyond our initial hopes.

“It was also a fantastic gesture for Keith to offer up his winning prize to raise further funds for our favourite charity.”

Julie Moody, from the Leeds Hospital Charitable Foundation, said: “We are delighted and very grateful to the team at The Square Ball magazine for their valuable donations over the years and help with raising awareness for our charitable work.

“We’d like to thank everyone who took part in their latest fundraising campaign, raising much-needed funds for the Leeds Children’s Hospital Appeal.”

Berardi took to Instagram to praise the efforts of the Leeds faithful, writing: “I am happy and privileged to be able to support such a good cause and I am delighted with the response of the fans.”

The Square Ball has now raised more than £10,000 for local charities in recent years through various big-hearted initiatives, including a 12-hour sponsored walk to a Leeds away game at Rotherham United in 2014.

The latest issue of the fanzine – first published during United’s promotion-winning 1989/90 season – will be on sale at the club’s home match against Bristol City on Sunday.