The flags are no longer hanging from car windows, the number of people proudly sporting their Portugal kit has diminished – but, for many, the efforts made during Euro 2004 have not been forgotten. Englandfans, the official England fan club, organised a fundraising event during the football tournament and were delighted when a host of people pitched in to raise money for Leukaemia Research, in Portugal and the United Kingdom. Around 2,000 people turned up to help Englandfans with their fund raising efforts on ‘Huge in Ericeira’ day. As well as a five-a-side football match – during which England were again defeated by Portugal – a charity auction was held on the beach.
There was huge support from football fans to help raise funds for the cause and the event also received some very prestigious commercial sponsorship – Nationwide Bank kindly donated flags, T-shirts, badges, as well as many other items, and Gillette donated 2,500 pounds sterling to the fund. Help was given in many ways – Luis, Miguel and João, a group of bar owners in Ericeira, pledged their support and made the event extra-special by constructing a marquee on the beach.
Over 10,000 euros was raised on the day, which was evenly split between the Portuguese and English Leukaemia Associations. Recently, Tim Murray, from the south coast section of Englandfans, handed over a cheque for 5,350 euros to the Portuguese Leukaemia Association. The then British Ambassador, Dame Glynne Evans, was in attendance, as well as the Director of the British Council in Portugal, Rosemary Hilhorst, and João Duarte from Ericeira.
Murray explained: “Huge in Ericeira day happened because Englandfans wanted it to happen. We got lots of help from various official departments and from individual supporters. Englandfans is keen to create a great and long lasting friendship with all the tournament hosts, wherever that may be. And we are happy to say that the links built during Euro 2004 are still going strong. We look forward to the future.”