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Ashgate Hospice > Hospice Care Week: The ex-Chesterfield footballer turned driver delivering care for families at Ashgate Hospice

From scoring for the Spireites in an FA Cup semi-final to helping fund vital care for families at Ashgate Hospice – local lad Jamie Hewitt has done his fair share of good for the people of Chesterfield.

The former defender racked up more than 500 appearances in blue over his 17-year career before retiring in 2002 and staying on as the club’s Sports Physiotherapist.

Well over a decade later, Jamie was ready for a career change and was intrigued at the prospect of joining his local hospice as a van driver for the charity’s furniture store in Hasland.

Six-and-a-half years later, the 55-year-old enjoys travelling across Derbyshire collecting and delivering furniture for the hospice’s supporters.

As part of Hospice Care Week, which takes place between 9th and 15th October, Jamie has shared his story to showcase the work of the hospice’s staff across the organisation.

He said: “When I finished playing football at 34, I went into the medical side of things for the first team and youth sides and did that for 12 or 13 years.

“That came to an end because in football you get different managers and so on, so I left and fancied doing a bit of driving.

“I saw the hospice opportunity come up and I’m only around the corner; Ashgate has been in Chesterfield for years and it was a good cause so I went for it.

“Years later and I love it at the hospice.

It’s nice to meet people who support the hospice which 99 per cent of our callouts are – you get to see the generosity of people and it’s really fulfilling.”

Jamie celebrates after scoring the equaliser in the FA Cup semi-final (Credit: Trevor Smith Photography via Chesterfield FC)
The defender moved to Doncaster Rovers in 1992 before returning to the Spireites the following year (Credit: Chesterfield FC)

During his footballing career, Jamie’s looping header in the 119th minute of the 1997 FA Cup final at Old Trafford secured a thoroughly deserved replay against opponents Middlesborough for the Spireites.

They would go on to lose the follow-up fixture 3-0 but the memory of that game and equaliser will forever live on in his and the hearts of thousands of Chesterfield fans.

It’s one topic of conversation that regularly comes up with football-loving hospice supporters when – to their surprise – their footballing hero turns up on their doorstep.

Jamie added: “We often meet people who recognise me from my Chesterfield days – it’s always friendly and it’s a good thing Chesterfield are doing a bit better now.

“My usual partner is Johnny and we work very well together and we’re good mates. He always rolls his eyes and laughs when anyone says anything!

“When we weren’t winning so much, they’d tell me I wish you were playing and I’d respond “well you didn’t say that when I was!”

“It’s nice to talk to people about football and Chesterfield and it’s all good if it helps promote the hospice.”

His fellow furniture delivery team colleagues take multiple trips out daily to collect and deliver furniture to and from the hospice’s supporters.

Jamie now works at Ashgate Hospice four days a week
After retiring as a player Jamie worked as the club's physiotherapist (Credit: Tina Jenner - Chesterfield FC)

Their efforts help the hospice raise the £9 million it needs every year to fund palliative and end of life care across North Derbyshire.

Jamie says doing his bit to give back to the people of Chesterfield and beyond is rewarding.

“I’ve lived in Chesterfield all my life and the hospice means a lot to the people we speak to,” he said. “Doing your bit for the charity gives you a good feeling.

“We visited the hospice recently and the Ward Manager Karen showed us around the Inpatient Unit – you get to see what the money we’ve helped raise has funded and what a difference it makes.

“There’s so many people we meet that know someone who has been cared for by Ashgate and they all want to do their bit to support it and donate.

“It’s probably the most thought of charity in North Derbyshire and we’re very lucky to have it.”

Check out Ashgate Hospice’s vacancies and find out more about joining the charity’s ever-growing team.

Jamie jumps for a header in the FA Cup semi-final (Credit: Trevor Smith Photography via Chesterfield FC)
Jamie signed for his hometown club in the mid-1980s (Credit: Chesterfield FC)