Skelmersdale and West Lancashire’s best known football team specifically for players with a learning disability, the Skem MenAces, has just realised a cherished dream, by taking delivery of its own minibus.

Courtesy of the 06 Vauxhall dealerships in the town and in Ormskirk, the team can now travel throughout the UK to take part in major tournaments and friendly matches, spreading a positive message about the sporting potential of an often overlooked section of the community.

MenAces team manager, Carl Eaton, who helped set up the team six years ago, said that throughout this time, he and other team officials and members had “dreamed and wished that one day we would own our very own minibus”, which had been the focus of considerable fundraising efforts for much of the period of the club’s existence. Eaton specifically singled out Chris Wellington from the town’s 06 Vauxhall dealership and colleague Phil Carver from the group’s Ormskirk franchise for particular thanks for their direct efforts in helping the team secure the Vauxhall Vivaro crew bus.

Decked out with club logos and acknowledgements to the main sponsors and supporters who have made the purchase possible, Eaton lavished the pair with praise: “They have been incredible, and I will never forget their kindness,” he remarked.

“We know how vital reliable transport to and from games is for many sports teams, but for the MenAces it’s especially necessary because they travel all over the region spreading a positive message about the Skelmersdale community,” said Chris Wellington after the bus’s official handover. “So we’ve been delighted to be able to supply them with the means to carry on doing their good work.”

Carl Eaton also took the opportunity to thank many other local supporters who have given towards their appeal, or helped arrange fundraising events. These have included Scott Rees & Co, Proctor & Gamble, and the town’s ASDA supermarket, which let the MenAces’ members and supporters raise cash through regular bag packing sessions for customers.