Daughters launch charity fund-raiser in memory of their 'football mad' Wigan dad

Tributes have been paid to a “football mad” Wigan dad whose death has inspired a fund-raiser for a national football charity for young people.

Friday, 29th May 2020, 2:26 pm

Tributes have been paid to a “football mad” Wigan dad whose death has inspired a fund-raiser for a national football charity for young people.

Shaun Brady, from Hindley, died on May 16 after contracting coronavirus. He bravely battled the virus for six weeks before he lost his life.

He was 55, and is survived by his two daughters, 24-year-old Hannah and Tasha, 22.

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Shaun, Hannah aged 12 and Tasha aged 10

Shaun had been a referee in the Wigan Amateur League and a linesman on the North West Counties League, and also helped primary school pupils hone their skills with a ball by launching free after school clubs.

The girls paid a glowing tribute to their dad, speaking about his hard work ethic, his lifelong passion for football and how they are using this to raise money in their dad’s name for an international charity, Football Beyond Borders.

“Dad was born in Pemberton and had three brothers. They lived in a two up two down, very small house,” said Hannah.

“I think it was expected of him to just go to work and that would be his life. But he had a real passion for football. He trained to be a referee, and he was the youngest referee in his league at 19, compared to most in their 50s and 60s.

Shaun in his early refereeing days

“Even at a young age, people really respected him, he really knew what he was doing.”

When Hannah and Tasha were in primary school at St Peters CofE in Hindley, Shaun continued his love for the beautiful game by launching the school’s first after-school football clubs, putting in money out of his own pocket to make sure the club remained free for all pupils.

Tasha said: “It was a free club for all ages, and both genders, which I think put some peoples’ noses out a bit, but he didn’t care.

“There were no subs so he would buy his own equipment, balls and trophies etc. Then every night he would go to work at Heinz and do a 10 hour shift, then come home and do it all over!

Hannah and Shaun at her graduation ceremony in 2017

“Seeing how happy all the kid were, it was so popular. It was really good. It went on for years. He knew all the kids and all the parents. He was just a kind, friendly man. He would spent time with everyone to help them.”

Shaun was also a huge supporter of charities, doing lots of fund-raising for organisations like MacMillian and Dementia UK. He was also on the charity committee at Heinz, often staying behind in the morning after his night shifts to sit in on fund-raising meetings.

Hannah said: “Dad was the sort of man who would do anything for anyone.

“He loved raising money for charity because he’d come from a bit of a deprived area and didn’t have the best upbringing.”

Shaun and Tasha at her prom in 2014

After their dad’s tragic death, Hannah and Tasha wanted to keep Shaun’s inspiring legacy alive and raising money for good causes in his memory, and soon came across Football Beyond Borders, an education charity which uses the power of football to support disadvantaged young people in the UK.

The organisation supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are passionate about football but disengaged at school. Operating in Greater Manchester, London and Essex, it uses football to help them finish school with the skills and grades to become a successful adult.

They provide long term, intensive support from Year 8 onward, building around relationships and young people’s passions both in the classroom and beyond.

It also offers weekly counselling to the students, as well as chances to meet Premier League players and attend Premier League and international football games.

“It really resonated with us. I think dad would have approved of them,” said Tasha.

“If anything like that had been around when he was younger, he would’ve been great at it."

Hannah 3 and Tasha 1, with dad Shaun

Wigan Amateur League secretary Dave Orrell also paid tribute to Shaun, saying: “He was a great guy who will be sadly missed by all in the local football fraternity.”

Shaun’s funeral will take place on June 3 at Hindley Cemetery.

To donate to Football Beyond Borders in memory of Shaun, click here A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:

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