The club captain of Neilston FC is urging people to help make sure no child in Renfrewshire wakes up without a present on Christmas Day.

Ciáran Friel, who works as a PE teacher at Gryffe High, in Houston, is hoping to raise £1,000 for Renfrewshire Christmas Toy Bank ahead of the festive period.

The 29-year-old has taken part in several fundraising challenges in previous years to support the good cause.

Ciáran said: "Last year, I completed 150km walking distance in the month of November, which was roughly five kilometres a day and outwith the other activities I was doing, such as football training and my work.

"I'm currently doing Sober October just now, which has been a little bit of a challenge, and I'm still having a think about what I'm going to do in November.

The Gazette: Ciáran Friel

"I want it to be bigger and better this year, and I've actually thinking about doing something at my work this time."

Among the ideas being considered is a leg waxing and five-a-side sports tournament between pupils and staff.

Ciáran said: "The end goal is to raise as much money as possible, because with the job that I'm in, I do see a lot of kids that come from poverty and the hardships they go through.

"I was fortunate to have a privileged upbringing and I got anything I ever wanted at Christmas time, and now with my young son, I still love Christmas time.

"The thought of some kids in and around Renfrewshire waking up on Christmas morning without gift absolutely breaks my heart.

The Gazette:

"If I can do something to try and give them a little bit of happiness on Christmas morning, then I'll certainly do everything that I can."

Ciáran said he had been receiving a lot of support from Neilston FC since he started playing for the team over a year ago.

He added: "I stay at the top end of Paisley, so it doesn't take me long at all to get to training or games.

"I have a lot of time and respect for the guys who run the club and the committee members, they are all good honest people, the sort of people I gravitate towards.

"Neilston has got a lot of positives for me in terms of being a man with a young family that wants to play at this level of football."

To support Ciáran's fundraising efforts, visit