Alex is a tour de force for Celtic FC Foundation

FOR Hoops fans old and new, a tour of Celtic Park marks an unforgettable experience as supporters marvel at the glory and grandeur of Paradise – and fittingly, Celtic FC Foundation has lined up an inspirational guide for an inspirational venue.

Alex O’Donnell, from Giffnock, is a participant on Celtic FC Foundation’s award winning Ability Counts project.

Celtic FC Foundation’s Ability Counts project features weekly football coaching and dance elements designed to foster and promote inclusion, diversity and friendship between the children involved through a common goal and interest while developing communication and co-ordination skills.

Celtic FC Foundation’s priority is to focus on the four key themes of improving health, promoting equality, encouraging learning and tackling poverty and we have a strong track record of delivering successful community-based projects.

Joining Ability Counts in 2010, the 18-year-old has since been involved in numerous extracurricular activities for the Foundation, including mascot duties and attending first-team training sessions.

Recently, Alex has keenly embraced a coaching position within Ability Counts, adopting a prominent role in sessions as well as using his experience to aid the development of younger project participants.   

Earlier this year, Alex also took centre stage at Celtic FC Foundation’s annual Sporting Dinner, warmly welcoming guests to Celtic Park and proving to be a popular figure among attendees.

Alex – a 2016 recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh award – will gain work experience at Celtic Park as part of his life skills course at West of Scotland College.

A lifelong Celtic fan, the teenager will assist tour guides and groups around the stadium, helping to showcase famous memorabilia and share stories of the club’s illustrious history.

On his appointment as tour guide, Alex said: “I’m very, VERY excited to work for Celtic and I can’t wait to get started. I’m so proud and I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone.”

Celtic Chief Executive, Peter Lawwell, said: “Alex is an exceptional young man and it’s wonderful that supporters and visitors to the stadium will see his natural warmth and good-nature.

“I’d like to wish him the best of luck ahead of his work experience.”

Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton, added: “Alex has been with Ability Counts from the very start and it’s been hugely inspiring to see him continually thrive across the past six years.

“Alex is one of a number of children and young people with Down’s Syndrome who we want to help through our Ability Counts initiative.

“It’s tremendous that he’ll be able to work around the stadium, and I’m certain he’ll be a firm favourite with visiting tour groups at Celtic Park.”

Alex’s parents, Owen and Lian, said: “We are both delighted that the Foundation has given Alex an opportunity to develop his skills as a football coach, and now, he will be allowed to fulfil his dream job.”

“We are very proud of Alex and it’s absolutely fantastic that he has been offered the chance to gain work experience at the club he loves.”

Alex will be present on Celtic Park tours from Friday, October 7.

Ability Counts Down’s Syndrome is delivered at Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Saturdays from 1 to 4pm. If you would like more information, please contact [email protected]