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Menphys welcome new ambassador Matt Piper

Menphys are thrilled to welcome former Leicester City and Sunderland winger Matt Piper as the latest ambassador to the charity. Already this year Matt has been supporting the charity, initially coming to visit our South Wigston hub and to meet some of our young people and during the COVID-10 pandemic he has been helping to raise vital funds with his Filbert Street programme auction and 26 kick up challenge.

Matt said "I am thrilled to be working with Menphys as their new ambassador, I am looking forward to working with the team, fellow ambassadors and young people to highlight the work being done. Menphys do great work with children and young people from across the city and county who have a wide range of disabilities. I hope I can do these incredible young people proud and I'll certainly represent them with honour and pride"

Matt who runs football academy and Menphys Charity Partner The FSD Academy is passionate about his work with young people and charities, raising thousands of pounds for multiple non-profit organisations during the lockdown. His auction of a signed Leicester City programme from the last ever fixture at Filbert Street, in which Matt scored the final goal, kick started our 'At Home Support' service fundraising. The money raised from the auction enabled us to purchase 36 large duplo sets to distribute to families across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in April and May of this year. Matt also played a key role in our 2.6 challenge day in April 2020 by taking on Leicester City's Christian Fuchs, former fox Mark Draper and an array of young footballers by challenging people to do 26 kick ups in the fastest time.

'Pipes' as he is affectionately know, came through the youth ranks of hometown club Leicester City. After signing a professional contract in 2000, he made his first team debut in the League Cup in October 2001, playing the whole of a 6–0 home defeat to Leeds United. After another appearance in a 4–1 league defeat to Liverpool, Matt went out on loan to Mansfield Town, for whom he played 8 times. He impressed there, and scored his first senior goal against Swansea City. On his return in January 2002, Piper played 27 games as Leicester fought relegation from the Premier League. Although Leicester were ultimately relegated with a mere five league wins all season, Pipes made his mark in the club's history by scoring the last ever competitive goal at Filbert Steet against Tottenham Hotspur as Leicester won 2–1.

Sunderland signed Matt from Leicester City in August 2002, for a fee of £3,500,000. Despite initially impressing, his time at Sunderland was mostly an unhappy one, suffering a number of serious injuries, resulting in him having 10 operations in 3 years. He missed most of the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons due to injury and rehabilitation. Matt made just one start in the League Cup. This was to be Piper's final appearance for Sunderland, and his contract was terminated by mutual consent in January 2006 following an unsuccessful trial with Coventry City. He had made just 29 appearances, including 15 starts, in three and a half years at Sunderland.

After some challenging times, Matt and business partner Owen Johnson set up The FSD Academy, a unique education and sports academy located in the heart of Leicester. With football training, match and classroom facilities all on site, the central UK base allows for a wide range of opportunities to explore through a bespoke education and sports programmes. Matt is also the co-commentator for Leicester City matches alongside Ian Stringer on BBC Radio Leicester.

Menphys CEO Ian Caldwell said "I'm thrilled to have Matt join our team of ambassador. His energy, eagerness and positive nature will be a fantastic asset to Menphys. Matt has triumphed through adversity and I think that is a great message to share with our children, young people and their families. Welcome to the Menphys family Matt"