How a fund-raiser in memory of 'football mad' Wigan dad raised £15,000 for disadvantaged young people
Hannah and Tasha Brady were not surprised to find themselves inundated with messages of condolence following the death of their father this year.
But they could not have anticipated that some of the heartwarming tributes would inspire them to raise £15,000 in his memory.
Shaun Brady was just 55 years old when he lost a six week battle with Coronavirus in May. It was clear to his daughters, before he even fell ill, that their father was adored by many.
As a key worker at the Heinz factory in Kitt Green, Shaun was on the company’s fund-raising committee and devoted a great deal of time to good causes.
But it wasn’t just Shaun’s close family and friends who spoke highly of him. Among the many messages Hannah received in the days after her dad’s death, she was surprised to hear from many people of a similar age to her, who knew Shaun from his lifelong passion, football.
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.
Hannah, 24, said: “When he died, I got dozens of messages from people a little younger than me, who I must have gone to primary school with, who said my dad had helped them to kick their first football ... or how they couldn’t kick a ball to save their life, but that dad would still always let them play.”
As well as these memories, many people had asked Hannah and Tasha if there was any charitable cause that they would like donations to be made to in memory of Shaun.
Such messages helped inspire the siblings to raise money for a charity which held the same values as their dad.
After researching various good causes, they discovered Football Beyond Borders, an education charity which uses the power of football to support disadvantaged young people in the UK.
Hannah said: “We needed to pick a charity which would really benefit from the money. Then we found Football Beyond Borders.
“I started looking on their website and realised it was perfect for what we wanted to achieve.”
Hannah recalled how, in her younger years, it was not uncommon to find her dad poring over football magazines to study new training techniques to teach, or researching new sports equipment which he could incorporate into his classes.
Such memories as these made her confident that he would very much approve of FBB’s cause.
An initial target of £500 was set. They reached the figure in less than 24 hours. The donations did not let up, and by the end of the fund-raiser, more than £15,000 had been raised for the organisation, including a $10,000 donation from Shaun’s employers, Kraft Heinz, and £1,500 from his former colleagues.
“A lot of the donations were from people who remembered dad from his time as a referee, and his time working at our primary school, running the football clubs.
“A lot of people had worked with dad, and we also had donations from people we didn’t know, but who had also lost someone to Covid.”
Hannah went on: “They’ve been really great. They send us updates every two weeks, beyond their normal newsletter, telling us ‘this week we’ve used part of your dad’s money to fund this or that’.
“During lockdown, they did an art project and dedicated the whole evening to my dad, which I really didn’t expect.
“They are still in touch and are still really keen to learn more about dad, so they can do projects based on refereeing.
“He also liked travelling, so they’d wanted a list of places where he’d been so they could look into football teams from those countries.”
FBB co-director Jasper Kain spoke to Hannah earlier in the year to pass on FBB’s condolences and thanks directly. He has been hugely inspired by their fund-raiser, saying: “We are extremely touched by the support from the Brady family.
“Shaun clearly shared the same philosophy as us all at FBB. That being the power of football and its unique ability to transform the lives of young people.
“It was heartening to hear that Shaun was involved in running after school football projects to benefit young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and the parallels with FBB.
“The money raised will be vital to support our delivery at a time when young people need it more than ever.”
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