Waltham Athletic reuniting for gaffer Steve in Alzheimer’s Society charity match

Steve pictured with his wife Carol at their home in Saltby PHOTO: Tim Williams
Steve pictured with his wife Carol at their home in Saltby PHOTO: Tim Williams

A charity football match as part of a fundraising day for Alzheimer’s Society is taking place on Saturday for a popular Saltby man living with dementia.

Steve Freer, who managed Waltham Athletic from scratch - 03/04 season - for many years, was diagnosed with the condition in December 2017, aged 57, and so former players are re-forming to play against a chosen XI to help raise money for the beloved cause close to Steve and his family.

Steve will be returning to the dugout with his old coaching staff to embrace the ‘good times’ again.

Son Lee Freer is organising the match. He said: “We first thought about setting up the event a few months ago when I was approached by one of the old players, Louis Potts, about doing something to fundraise for Alzheimer’s on the back of watching my dad’s awareness video for the condition with ex-professional footballer Robbie Savage.

“Since the diagnosis my dad has really channelled himself into raising awareness. The event for him is something really important, firstly to see the lads he has coached and also to chat with people he hasn’t seen for years, whilst hopefully still being in a position to recognise, remember and reminisce.

“My dad wants to build a fundraising tally and this will be a great first event for us to raise some valuable money for the charity.

“As a family we have become very aware since dad’s diagnosis how underfunded the condition is via the NHS compared to other conditions, and in a lot of cases official diagnosis can take roughly four to five years as there are a lack of Alzheimer’s/dementia specialists at GP level to make the initial referral.

“These are things that we want to help improve and raise awareness of. Collecting donations for this charity will help fund further research, treatment and support for sufferers and carers.

“Alzheimer’s Society has been amazing so far and continue to do so much for my parents and we want to give something back.”

Alongside the match, which kicks off at 2pm on the playing field at Waltham Village Hall, 35 minutes each half, there will be activities and entertainment for families from 1pm, including a cake stall, children’s games with a football dart board provided Kixx, a local kids’ football coaching provider, face painting and wood-fired pizzas provided by Chez Sebastien.

Lee added: “After the football there will be music from the Melton Academy late afternoon, a raffle and an auction with some terrific items.

“Music, food and a bar will be on in the village hall until late to ensure everybody has a great day for a great cause.”

Tickets for the whole day are £5 per adult and children are free. For enquiries contact Lee on 07816 051809.

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1442275412586660/