Hudgell Solicitors is helping East Yorkshire’s disabled footballers shine on the pitch as they continue to make positive progress at national level.
The 21-strong East Riding Electric Eels train at Sirius Academy in west Hull every Saturday and are captained by Kai Gill, 20, of east Hull.
Neil Hudgell, Managing Director of Hudgell Solicitors, became patron of the club last year and has since helped the team to make strong sporting contacts locally, such as Hull Kingston Rovers and Hull City.
Now, Kai said Hull City has covered the cost of the shirt, which mirrors the football club’s black and amber colours, while Hudgell Solicitors has provided its logo as the club’s sponsor.
Kai, a former St Mary’s College student who is now studying journalism and digital media at Hull School of Art and Design, said: “Neil has given us guidance and support in terms of how we can run the club more professionally.
“We have recently got a new shirt, which Hudgell Solicitors has sponsored, and Neil has also helped us with our Christmas party this year, contributing the venue at Hull Kingston Rovers’ ground KC Lightstream Stadium.
“He has supported us in making links with local sporting clubs, such as Assem Allam at Hull City, which is a great help.
“To have a big company such as Hudgell Solicitors supporting a disabled athlete, I’m gobsmacked.
“The support he is giving the club is beyond words and he is a great patron. Neil has definitely become part of the Electric Eels family.”
Kai was born with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2D, a progressive condition which affects his legs, shoulders and hips. But it was only diagnosed seven years ago when Kai was aged 13.
Powerchair football is played on a pitch similar to a basketball court and is played indoors.
Earlier this year, the Neil Hudgell Trust granted Kai a £1,000 discretionary grant towards the cost of his £3,885 powerchair to enable him to compete at the highest level, and Kai was named player of the year at the Hull and East Riding Disability Sports Awards.
In addition, Kai was also named Opponent Player of the Match in nine out of the 13 matches he played at national level last season, followed by a further seven times since the latest season began in October.
The Electric Eels have played 13 games so far this season, winning five, drawing one and losing seven.
Kai, who is also editor of the Parahey disability sports magazine and longs to represent Great Britain in the sport he loves, has scored five goals this season and the team is currently sitting in seventh place out of 12 teams in the national league.
Kai said: “I get a huge adrenaline rush of excitement knowing I can still play a sport I love and I can compare myself to friends who play football at university.
“When I was younger, I used to be able to ride a bike but now I can’t walk because my condition has deteriorated.
“Being able to play football, I get the same enjoyment I had when I was able to ride my bike.”
Neil Hudgell said he was delighted to be able to support Kai and the Electric Eels.
He said: “Seeing the Electric Eels progress so well is fantastic and it’s great to be able to support such enthusiastic local sporting team.
“The shirt looks brilliant and we hope it gives them an even greater sense of team spirit as they continue to compete at national level.
“I wish Kai and the team every success and, as patron, will be watching their next steps with great interest.”
James Mooney, Hull City’s head of marketing and communications, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the East Riding Electric Eels.
“We have a close relationship with the team and their families, and we look forward to that continuing.
“Our relationship with Umbro has helped us to purchase a really nice kit for them, with colours not too dissimilar to ours, and we hope they have great success when wearing it this season.”
Further information about the Neil Hudgell Trust is available at https://www.hudgellsolicitors.co.uk/the-hudgell-solicitors-trust