This Cape Flats soccer star is ready to tackle England – and it’s all thanks to the Daily Voice.
In just over a month, 17-year-old Ashton van der Vent will be jetting off to the United Kingdom where he will represent his soccer club Trinity Spurs Development FC in a football exchange programme.
When we first reported on Ashton’s story in May, the promising goalkeeper was playing in broken boots, but had big goals for his future.
But his mom, Mandy van der Vent, feared her son would miss this big opportunity due to a lack of funds.
He orginally needed R30 900, and three weeks ago the family still had a R16 000 shortfall in funds before Ashton could join the programme.
But Mandy says thanks to the exposure in the Daily Voice, generous mense – from an anonymous Milnerton pensioner to South African-born Hollywood actress, Lesley-Ann Brandt – have come forward to give his career kickstart.
Mandy says: “After the last story, so many people saw it, and posts on Facebook, and made donations.
“I also got a call from a woman who asked me to meet her in [Cape] Town. When Ashton and I came through it was a pensioner from Milnerton who gave us R500. She didn’t even want any recognition.”
She says the local dart club also allowed her to sell boerewors rolls, and gave her a share of their takings.
But the biggest surprise came when Lesley-Ann, a former Cape Flats resident, donated R10 000 towards Ashton’s trip.
Lesley-Ann plays the role of Maze in the M-Net television series, Lucifer.
Posting on Facebook, the star urged mense to help Ashton.
“I know all too well what it’s like to be from Athlone and to have a dream. Fortunately for me, my parents were able to provide me with the kind of opportunities I needed to get me started.
“…Ashton reminds me that when we can, it is important to help those who have worked so hard but who just need a little kindness from strangers.
“I myself will donate R10 000 towards Ashton’s trip and any amount helps…. Help give this talented young man the opportunity to follow his dreams. Thank you, from a girl who is still very much, a dreamer. LA x.”
A relieved Mandy says: “We didn’t think it would happen. Until the day you [Daily Voice] called, there was no hope. Thanks to you guys and everyone who made a donation.”
Mandy says she will continue to sell boerewors rolls to raise spending money for her excited son.
Anyone who would like to assist the family can contact Mandy on 076 831 1812, or make a Back-a-buddy donation here.