Imogen Papworth-Heidel welcomed into Lionhearts squad by England Women's duo

Wednesday 04 Nov 2020
Imogen was invited to St. George's Park to receive her Lionhearts shirt, complete with squad number seven

Our latest Lionheart Imogen Papworth-Heidel was given a helping hand on reaching her target of over seven million kick-ups by members of both the England men’s and women’s squads.

Football-mad Imogen found herself inspired by our own Lionhearts skipper, Captain Sir Tom Moore, during the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year and decided to take on her own challenge.

After finding out there were 7.1m keyworkers in the UK helping out vulnerable people across the country, the ten year old decided to count 7.1m kick-ups for each of them and try to raise money for nine different charities in the process.

Imogen, who also plays for Cambridge United, started engaging with the football community across the UK and soon the keepy-up counter and the amount she was raising were rapidly increasing.

 

Her work was quickly recognised nationally and she’s now raised over £10,000 as the challenge continues, with less than 50,000 kick-ups to go.

The Lionhearts initiative, supported by BT, will pay homage to 23 inspirational individuals who have gone above and beyond during this challenging time for the nation.

And after being invited to St. George’s Park to meet Lionesses pair Georgia Stanway and Izzy Christiansen and tell them about her challenge, they were only too happy to add to the tally.

She also saw video footage of England stars such as Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fran Kirby, Declan Rice, Kieran Trippier, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham add more kick-ups, 836 to be exact, to the total.

Georgia and Izzy then presented Imogen with her framed Lionhearts shirt, complete with her squad number seven.

England stars Georgia Stanway and Izzy Christiansen met Imogen at St. George's Park last month

“I decided to do one keepy-uppy for every single key worker in the whole of the country,” said Imogen.

“Initially, my target was to raise £1300, but we literally went through that target and we're now on £10,500 which is cool.”

The charities which Imogen chose to donate to are NHS Charities Together, the Careworkers’ Charity, Police Care UK, the FireFighter’s Charity, SSAFA – the Armed Forces Charity, Education Support, East Anglian Air Ambulance, Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and Mind.

The squad so far...

1.Captain Sir Tom Moore – Record-breaking centenarian who raised more than £32million for NHS Charities Together

2. Ranjit Singh – The wrestling coach from Wolverhampton helped organise daily meals for 300 people and the distribution of PPE equipment

5. Betty-Leigh Allinson – Football shirt enthusiast aged five who has raised over £27,000 for a Hertfordshire hospice through a cycling feat

7. Imogen Papworth-Heidel - The young footballer embarked on a mission to do a keepie-uppie for every keyworker in the UK and raised over £10,000 for nine charities in the process.

9. Tobias Weller – Nine-year-old inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to raise almost £150,000 for Sheffield-based charities

10. Joe Wicks - The YouTube fitness coach led the nation and beyond through a daily exercise class for 18 weeks during lockdown.

12. Nana Badu – His organisation, BADU Sports, provided a helpline, food bank and deliveries to vulnerable members of the local community in Hackney.

14. Kian Cormier - The teenager produced visors for his local community in Surrey, while continuing his studies.

15. Hassan Akkad – Award-winning film maker who answered a call to be a cleaner in his local hospital before raising awareness of NHS bereavement fund

16. Akbar Khan - Bradford-based volunteer for a charity for people with disabilities who brought their community together during COVID-19 lockdown 

18. Dema Aktaa - Syrian refugee who helped raise money for COVID-19 outbreaks in refugee camps by walking on her prosthetic leg.

19. Tony Hudgell - Celebrated young fundraiser who raised £1.6m for the hospital which saved his life as a baby

22. Daniel Sukula – Community leader from Bolton who, after being saved from deportation back to DR Congo, founded a centre for disadvantaged youths.

23. Jay Flynn - The virtual quizmaster helped raise money for multiple charities and entered the Guinness Book of Records during lockdown

By Nicholas Veevers