The organiser of a charity football match held for his seriously ill father has described the support received as overwhelming.
Former Melton and county hockey player Danny Willcock spent months organising the day for his dad Paul who has the incurable degenerative disease Progressive Super Nuclear Palsy (PSP).
The Play For Paul event drew more than 200 people to Bottesford FC and raised more than £5,000 for the Stathern-based day hospice Dove Cottage, which Paul attends, and the PSPA charity.
“It went phenomenally well and the amount we raised is unreal,” said Danny.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by everyone’s support for the event and their generosity.
“Both charities have done some amazing work for us as a family and the more we can do for them the better.
“Organising felt like a second job for a month-and-a-half, but it was really worth it.
“We had so many volunteers giving up their time – it was just an amazing day.”
Danny pulled on his boots for the main event of the day, reforming the Bottesford Young Lions team of 1992 for a match against Bottesford Farcelona.
Guest of honour Paul, a former England U21 hockey international, led the teams onto the pitch.
“We won 4-2, but mainly it was a great opportunity for a reunion,” Danny said.
“Barring three lads, we got out the same squad from 27 years ago, including the manager and staff.
“One of the players came up from London, even though he couldn’t play, to join the coaching staff.”
Young Lions manager Jon Baxter added: “Paul did a great job of being our home referee and away club official.
“It is brilliant the team spirit was still with the lads in supporting Dove Cottage and the PSP Association.”
Matt Burton took charge in the opposite dugout for Farcelona, many of whose players are current coaches of junior sides at Bottesford FC.
“We were delighted to have been asked to take part in this game,” he said.
“I know the effort Danny, his family and friends have put into the event, and hope everyone looks back on Play For Paul as a terrific success for a truly lovely family.”
Proceeds were boosted by a live auction as well as donations of £500 to both charities from the Lions Club who also loaned equipment for the day.
There was help from Melton-based businesses, with B and H Midland Services donating trophies, and ESF donating equipment, while Bottesford FC gave the use of their ground and facilities without charge.
Chris Gatfield, Dove Cottage’s registered manager, said: “We want to extend a huge thank-you to Danny for organising this event on our behalf.
“We rely on people in our local community to help us fundraise for the lovely services we provide here at the hospice, and we really couldn’t do it without such support.
“Thank-you to everyone who helped make the event such a success.”
Danny wished to thank the following for their support and donations –
Sarah and Mel from PSPA, Amanda and Jenny from Dove Cottage, The Lions Charity, I Fit, JSW Insurance, Ratcliffe College, Lands Ends, Bottesford FC, Clubhouse Caterers, Belvoir Drinks and Wholesalers, Kaydee Sportswear, Leicester City FC, ESF, B&H Midland and everyone involved.