£62,000 raised in memory of Paul
AEK Boco chairman John Winter and Paul's father John Withey with a certificate from Children's Hospice South West
A HANHAM football club has helped raise £62,000 in honour of member Paul Withey who died during a charity bike ride.
Paul was 42 when he had a heart attack while taking part in the 75k St Peter's Hospice Tour de Bristol in 2016.
As youth coach, father-of-two Paul had been a dedicated member of Greenbank Road-based AEK Boco, developing the skills of young footballers. His team were regular winners of the Hanham Minor League and Avon Youth League.
Following his death on April 2, 2016 Boco teamed up with Paul's employer, Clevedon-based Glide (formerly CableCom), to raise just over £61,900 for Children's Hospice South West, a charity Paul had supported by taking part in runs and cycle rides. The two organisations raised money by hosting football matches and charity evenings as well online.
AEK Boco club chairman John Winter said: “Paul was a very well respected and loved member of our club and we wanted to continue his good work helping the hospice. All of the events we have hosted have been incredibly well supported and the generosity of club members has been incredible.”
Frances Kenneally, community fundraiser at Children's Hospice South West, said: “We are very grateful for the funds raised in memory of Paul Withey. The local hospice, Charlton Farm in North Somerset, aims to help and support families who face the emotional and physical strain of caring for children who, sadly, are not expected to live into adulthood. Donations from the community are vital to sustain the services we offer to families."
Caring club's aid for food bank
THE donation to Children's Hospice South West is not the only good work members of AEK Boco have been up to.
Recently the club hosted two three-hour sessions at the Greenbank Road club where members of the club and community could pop along and donate food items to be parcelled up and given to foodbanks and the homeless this Christmas.
The project was overseen by Don Russell, club vice chairman and head of social and fundraising, and volunteers Louise Longhurst and Theresa Coles.
At the end of the sessions, the club counted 44 boxes crammed with food including tinned potatoes, ham and chicken, soups, chocolate, Christmas cakes, selection boxes, fruit juice, biscuits, longlife milk, jams and custard. There were also toiletry items including shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
The items were then taken to the Trussell Trust in Stapleton Road ready to be distributed to good causes.
Don was inspired after watching a TV programme.
He said: “It was about someone who was homeless in Glasgow who had come out of the army six months before but couldn't find a job and ended up on the streets. That person died in a car park and I thought 'We can't let this happen – we must do something'.”
Don said he was staggered by how many people came to the club to make donations.
“The response was amazing. People just kept coming through the doors – young, middle aged, old people. One pensioner came in with her two grandchildren and was explaining to them how lucky they were to have what they have as there are people who are living on the streets who can't afford these things. We also had a box of food from Warmley Rangers FC who saw the appeal on Facebook.
“We had 44 boxes after the sessions but people have been in since to drop bags of food off so we ended up with even more.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how much was donated but people amaze you sometimes. Every one of our teams gave something. We want to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated, it's really appreciated. We want to start doing this every year and potentially it could get even bigger.”
Boco also raised £890 after hosting a Christmas party at Century's on November 23. They sold 220 tickets for the event which featured a Lionel Richie tribute act.
The club wants to put the money towards a defibrillator at the clubhouse which can be accessed by the community as well as members of the club.