A FOOTBALL enthusiast working for the Welsh Ambulance Service has broken the Guinness World Record for the most penalty kicks taken in a 24-hour period.

Liverpool fan Stephen Ford, 32, an Emergency Medical Technician based in Rhyl, took on the challenge on September 12 at Llandudno FC’s Maesdu Park stadium and was aiming to beat the previous record of 1,111 strikes against a goalkeeper.

The record was held by Indian man Vickrant Mahajan who did it in Jammu and Kashmir, India, on April 8, 2016.

Not only did Stephen surpass that marker after eight hours, he carried on throughout the night and into the next day kicking a mightily impressive 2,075 shots.

On Sunday afternoon, a tired but ecstatic Stephen said: “I’m chuffed to bits we managed to smash the world record and it was a great team effort.

Rhyl Journal:

PICTURE: Stephen takes his very first penalty of the day.

“We couldn’t have done it without the support of Llandudno Football Club, my colleagues, our kids who acted as ball boys and the officials who made sure everything was legal for a genuine record attempt. I’m looking forward to a good long sleep now.”

The event was live-streamed on Llandudno FC’s Facebook page and there were recognised officials from the Welsh Premier League on hand to ensure fair play and that strict regulations were met.

The event came about from a relationship the Welsh Ambulance Service have with Llandudno FC, who let the ambulance service use their facilities for home fixtures in the Emergency Services Football League.

Sam Williams, General Manager of Llandudno Football Club, said: “We pride ourselves on being a true community club and are only too happy to do what we can to support our emergency services.

“We came up with the idea to tackle the record and that’s when Stephen offered to step up to the challenge.”

Between them, Stephen and his colleague Steve Jones (below), an Advanced Paramedic Practitioner for the Trust, run the Welsh Ambulance FC football team which began in 2017 with a series of friendly charity matches against the police and local councils.

Rhyl Journal:

Stephen is the manager and Steve, the secretary.

Since then, they have formed a solid squad, gained sponsorship and are now competing in the UK-wide Emergency Services League.

It is currently on hold due to the pandemic but there are hopes of a return to action in the near future.

Steve said: “We are very grateful to Llandudno FC and Blue Light Card who kindly agreed to sponsor us.

“We wanted to keep everything as local as possible and managed to secure a very generous offer from the Wrexham branch of kit maker Macron who donated all our strips.”

The Welsh Ambulance Service team is currently made up of players from across North Wales and has squad members from as far apart as South Gwynedd and Wrexham.

A Guinness World Records spokesperson said: “Here at Guinness World Records we love to see that people’s skills and passion have lead them to attempt to break a Guinness World Record title!

“We look forward to receiving and reviewing the evidence from the attempt to verify if this record has been broken.”