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Two stalwart Sunday football league referees who have been donating their match fees to Ashgate Hospice were invited to Chesterfield FC where they handed over the money raised pitch side.
Chris Roberts and Bruce Baskerville, from Chesterfield, have refereed thousands of semi-pro and non-league matches between them and decided to start donating a percentage of the fees they receive for officiating games.
The duo, both aged 64, have now raised more than £4,100 for the North Derbyshire hospice in just over 12 months.
Word of their kind-heartedness soon caught the attention of the local football fraternity and teams started voluntarily adding a donation of £5 or £10 as a gesture from their club.
They were invited to the Spireites’ match at home to Notts Country on 11 February where they presented the money raised to Ashgate’s Community Fundraiser, Lynn Jones.
“We have made a commitment to ourselves that we won’t ask for any donations – that’s our mantra,” said Chris.
“We have been overwhelmed by the way our little story has caught the attention of the local football community, our friends and family.
“To begin, we just made a comment on our Facebook pages to highlight that we had raised another few pounds for the hospice and in just a matter of weeks people were offering us donations.
“We also noticed that when we arrived to do our matches some teams would voluntarily add a further £5 or £10 to our fee as a gesture from their club.”
Chris and Bruce wanted to help the hospice as they believe everyone in Chesterfield has an “affinity” with the hospice after being touched by its “amazing” care.
Bruce says they also want to improve the reputation of referees as well as the relationship they have with clubs, coaches, players and supporters.
“Last season I refereed a first division game in the Chesterfield Sunday League and sent the home team’s best player off,” he said.
“After the game they asked me to come into the home dressing room. I was expecting an earful and thought they’d end up throwing the match fee on the floor.
“They ended up paying me the £30 for reffing the game and then matching my fee for a donation to Ashgate.”
The money will help Ashgate Hospice care for families at its Inpatient Unit in Old Brampton, Chesterfield, as well as in their own homes across North Derbyshire.
Ashgate’s Lynn Jones, said: “We’re so grateful for the support of Chris and Bruce and everyone else in the local football community that’s supported their fundraiser.
“It’s so inspiring to hear how they’ve managed to turn a hobby of theirs into something that’s going to help families who need our vital support across North Derbyshire.
“I’m looking forward to following their fundraising venture over the coming season!”
Could you turn your hobby into a fundraiser for Ashgate Hospice? Click the button below to find out more about supporting the hospice.