Thousands raised at charity ball

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WIGAN sporting royalty was out in force at the weekend as thousands of pounds were raised for Joseph’s Goal.

The charity, set up by the Evening Post’s football correspondent Paul Kendrick following his son Joseph’s diagnosis with non-ketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH), held its first-ever ball at the DW Stadium and it was hailed a huge success.

Joseph Kendrick, the inspiration behind Joseph's Goal, and mum Emma

Joseph Kendrick, the inspiration behind Joseph's Goal, and mum Emma

More than 300 people packed into the Marquee inside the North Stand for a night of music, laughter and fund-raising.

The exact total is still being counted but is expected to be around the £13,000 mark, with a staggering £6,500 raised from the auction and raffle alone.

All money raised from the night will go to directly funding research for NKH, a rare genetic disorder that Joseph – Wigan Athletic’s lucky FA Cup final mascot – was diagnosed with at birth. Since the charity was formed in 2012, it has gone from strength to strength.

There were a number of money-can’t-buy items up for grabs including signed boots from the likes of Latics stars Ben Watson and Shaun Maloney.

Another star whose boots were up for grabs was Warriors skipper Sean O’Loughlin. The 31-year-old, an ambassador for the charity, donated a boot from both the Grand Final and Challenge Cup final, which were also auctioned off.

O’Loughlin’s team-mate Darrell Goulding attended as well as Latics stars Emmerson Boyce, Mike Pollitt and Gary Caldwell.

Blind footballer David Clarke was also present and donated his GB jersey from the Paralympic games, which was won by Latics skipper Boyce to whom he presented the FA Cup last May.

Guests enjoyed music from Wigan soprano Laurie Ashworth, and comedy from TV’s Alex Brooker and former Phoenix Nights star Archie Kelly, with the BBC’s George Riley hosting the night.

“It was an absolutely amazing night from start to finish – it really couldn’t have gone any better,” said Paul.

“Everyone we managed to speak to on the night said what a fantastic time they were having, and how much they were already looking to next year’s event!

“We’ve had so many phone calls, texts and tweets over the last couple of days from people saying the same thing.

“Joseph also enjoyed himself, and loved meeting everyone who came over to say hello.

“The entertainment was first class – George, Alex, Laurie and Archie all did a great job from start to finish – and we also have to thank the DW for putting on such a professional event. We’re still finalising the figures, but we’ve absolutely smashed what we hoped to raise – we’re so grateful for everyone’s continued support of Joseph’s Goal.”

FOR MORE PHOTOS SEE THIS WEEK’S WIGAN OBSERVER