THE family and friends of a man who died after a short battle with lung cancer have boosted Rotherham Hospital’s fund-raising appeal by £2,400.
Neil Hirst’s wife Pauline and his three children organised their annual football match in his memory between Treeton Football Club and Brinsworth Whitehill at the Phoenix Sports and Social Club in Brinsworth in December.
Blades fan Neil died in 2014 aged 56 and his family vowed to keep holding charity events to keep his memory alive.
They followed up the football match with a music night — co-organised by family friend Vanessa Lockwood — at Treeton Miners Welfare Club in February, which raised an additional £930 for the hospital’s Purple Butterfly Appeal.
Pauline, of Treeton, said: “My sons played for Treeton in the match and there was lots of friendly camaraderie. It was a great match and a wonderful crowd.
“Vanessa and I also worked together to arrange the party night.
“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.”
The family has so far raised more than £6,000 in Neil’s memory.
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.
It is now on display at one of the hospital’s Purple Butterfly rooms, which provide patients nearing the end of their lives with home comforts, dignity and privacy.
Charity fundraisers hope to gather £75,000 to open a fourth room this year.
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