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Match in memory of football fan Paul

Match in memory of football fan Paul

A charity football match held in memory of a cancer patient who was given a fatal overdose of drugs has been given a boost from generous workers of a Birmingham employment and training company.

Paul Richards’ life was cut tragically short at the age of just 35 after he was issued an overdose of drugs at Heartlands Hospital in 2007. A memorial football match was held at Sutton Town Football Club to celebrate Paul’s 40th birthday.

Generous staff at Pertemps People Development Goup (PPDG) donated &pound400 to the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Charity through the company’s Give As You Earn (GAYE) scheme. The GAYE scheme each year donates thousands of pounds to charities and other good causes. Employees make a donation to the scheme each month.

Paul’s son Benjamin, who recently signed for Hinckley Utd Football Club, was man of the match in the game which saw some of Paul’s closest friends and family take on former soccer legends including ex-West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa star Cyrille Regis, West Bromwich Albion’s Bob Taylor and Aston Villa’s Tony Daley.

Paul, from Sutton Coldfield, an Aston Villa fan, was given five times the normal dose of fungal infection drug amphotericin at Heartlands Hospital sending his body into shock and killing him within hours in July 2007. The former IT consultant from Signal Hayes Road, Walmley, was given the drug as it was thought he had a suspected fungal infection but a postmortem later revealed this wasn’t the case.

Widow Lisa and close friend Darren Hicks decided to organise the football match in memory of Paul. Darren also wanted to combine proceeds of the match to raise funds for Sickle Cell Anaemia in memory of his uncle Clive Hicks.

Stuart Baxter, site manager at PPDG’s Newtown office, is a close friend and offered Lisa his full support when he heard about plans for the memorial football match. He also nominated Lisa’s chosen charity Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Charity for a GAYE award.

Stuart said: “Paul was a good friend of mine and I have always stayed in touch with Lisa. I also lost my wife to cancer six years ago so we can talk to each other about things I wouldn’t probably with others and she is an inspirational support.

“Lisa and Ian had the idea of a football match in memory of Paul’s 40th birthday and I was only too happy to help them.

“I nominated Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Charity for a GAYE donation and PPDG gave &pound400. A fantastic framed Craig Gardner football shirt was given for an auction prize and staff at PPDG offices from around the West Midlands donated raffle prizes including meals, beauty treatments and a hand-made cake.

“It really was quite an amazing day and I was so pleased to be able to contribute and offer my support.”

Former West Bromwich Albion player Ian Hamilton and ex Birmingham City footballer Dave Barnett were both instrumental in organising the match and getting the former professional footballers involved. Those two have since become close friends with Lisa. Lisa proudly watched the game with daughters Mia, nine, and Ellie, five.

Lisa added: “It was a very emotional day but I was also so proud and overwhelmed by the generosity and support shown on the day. I would like to say a special thank you to Sutton Town Football Club for allowing us to stage the football match and to PPDG for their support and very generous donation.” The Sickle Cell Anaemia Charity will also receive a donation. The total amount raised on the day was &pound888.


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