A St Helens-based family are holding a charity football game at Ashton Town to pay tribute to their late son next week.
Keith Peters and Rebecca Roberts, who reside together in Ashton-in-Makerfield, lost their new-born son Freddie last September when he was just six hours old.
Freddie was born prematurely at 23 weeks and was immediately transferred from Liverpool Women’s Hospital to the Arrow Park Hospital in Birkenhead.
While it was tough for the parents to be away from home when their son was in hospital, Arrow Park arranged for the couple to stay at the Claire House Children’s Hospice for seven days to spend some precious time with Freddie.
The Claire House Children’s Hospice helps seriously and terminally ill children by creating positive experiences and providing specialist nursing care and emotional support.
The staff who run the hospice’s Butterfly Suite rely on donations to keep the two rooms stocked with food, and the hospice is currently only reaching one in two of the children it could be.
After the Claire House provided invaluable support for their family when Freddie died, the couple wanted to launch a fundraising event to show the family’s appreciation for the children’s hospice.
Keith, who is a regular volunteer at non-league outfit Ashton Town AFC, spoke to the chairman Mark Hayes who has kindly allowed the family to use the Scott Rees and Co Stadium to host two charity matches on Sunday, May 26.
Ashton Town’s Under-16 girls’ team will face unconfirmed opponents at 1pm as a curtain-raiser to Follo FC versus a Wigan Athletic Fans Team at 4pm.
Our Lost Little Ones, which is abbreviated to Follo FC, are a new team founded in Tameside to support fathers who have lost children.
Keith was approached by the manager of Follo FC during Christmas to invite him along to be a part of the club.
After enjoying the chance to play football again and make new friends, Keith joined the club and asked his team-mates to star in their very own Ashton Town charity showpiece.
Despite admirable work of many charities and heath organisations, men talking about mental health remains a stigma and the importance of groups like this are immeasurable.
Keith said how much it means to him and his family to be able to hold a charity fun-day in his son’s memory and raise money for a very special cause.
He said: “When Freddie passed away, I was heartbroken. I felt lost and I always wondering to myself why it happened. It was the worst day of my life. I was in a really bad way for months. I went away to Malaga for Christmas as I couldn’t be around on such a special occasion.
“When I was away, Gary Berkley sent me a message saying sorry for your loss and explained about what Follo FC is and asked me if I would like to put on my boots again. I jumped at the chance and I’ve met some life-long friends.
“It’s going to be an honour to play with them when we’re raising money for the Claire House Hospice for our Freddie. The Claire House are amazing and very special, and without them, I really don’t know how our family would have coped in the long run. The emotional support is phenomenal we didn’t have to think about the logistics of planning a funeral as they sorted it for us- they let us grieve and gave us that time with Freddie. They will always hold a place in our hearts.”
In addition to the two football matches, there will be children’s activities, raffles and cake stalls for an all-round day of family fun.
Tickets are available at £5 for adults and £2 for concessions, and can be purchased from Keith Peters through the ‘Football for Freddie and Friends’ Facebook event page.