The family and friends of a man who tragically died following a short battle with lung cancer hosted a range of fundraising activities to boost the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity’s Purple Butterfly Appeal.
Blades fan Neil Hirst sadly passed away in 2014 aged 56. To help keep his memory alive, his wife Pauline plus his children, Wes, 35, Nick, 33 and 29-year-old Keeley hosted the Neil Hirst memorial football match at the Phoenix Sports and Social Club in Brinsworth. The event saw rival teams Treeton Football Club and Brinsworth Whitehill go head to head, with Treeton winning 5-3. The donations have now been counted following the event in December, with £1,500 raised.
The Hirst family continued their fundraising activities in February by joining family friend Vanessa Lockwood to host a party at the Treeton Miners Welfare Club. The event included music from Westlife and Take That tribute band Always 4, who donated their time for free, and a raffle. They raised an additional £930 for the Purple Butterfly Appeal.
Pauline, of Treeton in Rotherham, said: “Neil was a Sheffield United fan and was heavily involved in running local football clubs, so we continue to remember him by hosting a memorial match every year between Christmas and New Year. My sons played for Treeton and there was lots of friendly camaraderie. It was a great match and a wonderful crowd. Everyone loves taking part because it keeps Neil’s memory alive by doing something that he loved.
“Vanessa and I also worked together to arrange the party night at Treeton Miners Welfare Club. It was absolutely fantastic that the band gave us their time for free and our family and friends were so generous providing amazing prizes for the raffle. We all had a great time dancing and singing and again it was a lovely way to remember Neil and Vanessa’s friend who had sadly recently died.
“We’d like to thank all our friends and family for supporting us with fundraising for the Purple Butterfly Appeal. It really means a lot to us and hopefully we can inspire others to fundraise too.”
Neil and Pauline’s friends Kimberley and Dean McMahon have also created a butterfly mural from hundreds of purple buttons, which they have donated to the charity. The mural is already proudly displayed in a Purple Butterfly room at Rotherham Hospital. The rooms provide patients nearing the end of their lives home comforts, dignity and privacy when time is most precious.
Fundraisers have already helped The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust raise much needed funds for three Purple Butterfly rooms at Rotherham Hospital. The Trust hopes to raise an additional £75,000 needed to fund a fourth during 2017.
Assistant Chief Nurse June Lovett added: “Pauline and her family have already raised more than £6,000 for the Purple Butterfly Appeal, so to raise even more is absolutely fantastic. Families tell us the Purple Butterfly rooms really make a difference to loved ones in very difficult circumstances. Thank you to everyone who took part in the charity football match and party night and to the McMahon’s for their lovely butterfly mural.”
For more information about the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity and the Purple Butterfly Appeal, visit www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/charity
For more information about the work of The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, please visit: http://www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/
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