There will be a very special Eastbourne dimension to this year’s Emirates FA Cup Final. Stepping out at Wembley on June 3rd, as official mascots, will be two young Eastbourne sisters, Amelie and Sophia Paviour.
And the girls’ story is inspirational as well as exciting. Working with The FA and non-league clubs, FA Cup sponsors Emirates had been travelling up and down the country to surprise unsuspecting fans with a special story – including Eastbourne Borough supporters Amelie and Sophia, aged 12 and 10.
The girls’ mum, Sarah, has been battling with cancer: a huge challenge for any family.
The sisters’ journey with the team began when Borough released free tickets to matches over the summer school holidays, to give something back to the local community.
Dad Andrew went along too, and they were as he put it “total converts from the very first kick!” The family continued to support the team, and the girls were made matchday mascots for Borough’s Emirates FA Cup game with Uxbridge in September.
But it didn’t stop there. Andrew Paviour wrote to the club, thanking Borough for the tickets. “Those afternoons at Priory Lane were a shaft of sunlight,” he explained, “and a little break – for the girls especially – from the difficult time we were experiencing at home.”
But Amelie and Sophia wanted to do more. And on a Saturday in October, on their own initiative, the girls took over the Langney Sports clubhouse for a coffee morning which raised a remarkable £1200 for Macmillan Cancer Care and for St Wilfrid’s Hospice. “Like so many local people, we all owe a huge debt to the wonderful St Wilfrid’s,” said Andrew.
And through the season, as a result, the bonds have grown stronger. When Emirates put out the call – for deserving young non-league supporters to be honoured at the Wembley Final, Borough commercial manager Sian Ansell was quick to nominate Amelie and Sophia. “There couldn’t be better candidates,” said Sian. “They are lovely girls it’s been an honour to be involved with them.”
And so, on a rather damp and blustery afternoon in the Easter holidays, the Emirates media team arrived in force. Camera crews, directors, photographers and reporters – and the historic FA Cup trophy itself gracing Priory Lane. With a whole lot of subterfuge before the Big Reveal, and with proud parents Sarah and Andrew looking on, Sophia and Amelie gasped to receive the news.
Out on the green 3G in front of Borough’s main stand, their favourite player, goalkeeper Lee Worgan, and manager Danny Bloor told them that on Saturday 3rd June, they would be stepping out on probably the most famous football pitch in the world… And Emirates Cabin Crew presented Sophia and Amelie with the official Emirates FA Cup trophy, to hold it as if winning it themselves.
“This is a great, great story in every sense,” declared Danny. “We chuckle about how football is the most important thing in the world – but it isn’t. These amazing young ladies and their wonderful family matter more than any game of football. Every Borough supporter will be watching their screens on June 3rd and cheering Amelie and Sophia with pride.”
But wait – before their day in the Wembley sunlight, the girls have more work to do. Not content with that previous £1200 fund-raiser, they are staging an even bigger Coffee Lunch Date, on the lunchtime of the Sports’ final National South game of the season, against Concord Rangers on Saturday April 29th. Again, Macmillan and St Wilfrid’s will be the beneficiaries. The clubhouse will be heaving – and two proud parents will be permitted just a little moist tear in their eye…
Well done, girls.
Eastbourne Borough Football Club is so proud of you!