DCSIMG

Football friends strip for waxing fundraiser

FUNDRAISERS ... Paul Featherstone, front, Audrey Aggas, Gerry Aynsley, Tom Ellens, Wayne Davison and Lucy White have organised a charity night in memory of John Mather, inset.

FUNDRAISERS ... Paul Featherstone, front, Audrey Aggas, Gerry Aynsley, Tom Ellens, Wayne Davison and Lucy White have organised a charity night in memory of John Mather, inset.

Five friends are preparing to brave the waxing strip to raise cash in memory of a South Tyneside grassroots football stalwart.

John Mather dedicated 40 years of his life to the sport he loved – and even problems with his knees failed to stop him playing his favourite game.

The great-grandfather died last October, aged 76.

Now, friends and family are rallying round to raise cash for South Tyneside District Hospital’s intensive care unit that looked after him.

Five of Mr Mather’s pals – Tom Ellens, Wayne Davison, Paul Featherstone, Chris Davies and Jerry Ainsley – will have parts of their bodies waxed after being sponsored for some hair-removing treatment.

His daughter Audrey Aggas, 51, said: “My dad suffered a knee injury when he was younger so was never able to play professionally.

“He had a knee replacement operation in 2001. A year later he had his first infection and he was back and forth from hospital every year from then.

“Last year, he died from a chest infection developed into pneumonia.

“Throughout his time in the intensive care unit, we had such fantastic communication with the staff and the care was amazing.”

Mr Mather, who lived in Frenchmans Way, Horsley Hill, last pulled on a pair of football boots at the age of 63 after spending his weekends playing and managing teams including Albemarle FC, Newcastle Cycle Centre and the New Crown, as well as refereeing matches.

And even when his health deteriorated, the former factory worker continued to support grass-roots football by attending games.

Daughter Lucy White, 40, said: “His family and football was his life. He played in the Sunday morning league, and his contribution to the game was recognised by the Durham FA with an achievement award. He played football, managed teams and in 1978 he got his referee badge.

“He loved the game, and when he couldn’t play any longer he would still go down to watch.”

The charity event will be held at the Britannia Pub in Westoe Road, South Shields, on Sunday, from 1pm.

The family are keen to trace all Mr Mather’s football colleagues over the years and are keen to locate player Gordon Douglas.

Meanwhile, Mr Mather’s son-in-law Paul White, a 43-year-old accountant, and postman Steve Law, 51, aim to scale Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in under 24 hours in his memory.

Anyone who can help with the family’s fundraising efforts can contact Mrs Aggas on 07834 243 863 or Mrs White on 07852 294 776.

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa

 

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