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Big Rich Memorial Football Match Raises £2,000 for St Michael's Hospice

The NewVoiceMedia Foundation aims to support our people in making a difference to the causes that matter most to them. In this week’s blog, we talk to Chris Garrett, Financial Planning Analyst at NewVoiceMedia.

Chris has raised an impressive £2,000 for St Michael's Hospice with the help of NewVoiceMedia’s matched funding scheme. The hospice provides care to patients suffering with cancer or other life-limiting illnesses. Based in Basingstoke, St Michael's has supported our local community for over 24 years and provides care for more than 500 patients a year.

St Michael’s receives less than 19% funding from the North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group. The remaining £3.1m comes from donations raised by volunteer events like Big Rich’s Memorial Football Match.

I bought a raffle ticket from Chris and took the chance to learn more about this great event.

What does this event mean to you and how did it get started?

In 2014, my best friend had a rough Christmas. His family spent the run up to Christmas at St Michael's Hospice, as not long before his father Richard had been diagnosed with cancer.  Sadly, on Boxing Day 2014, Richard lost his fight against the awful disease.

Richard was a great man. He was my football coach from 5 to 12 years of age and so played a big role in the formative years of me and my friendship group. Richard loved football. Organising a friendly match seemed the best way to honour his memory and raise funds for St Michael's Hospice who were a brilliant source of care.

This was the third memorial event, how did it compare to previous years?

The first memorial in 2014 was a small football match. We invited footballers who had played for Richard as well as members of Oakley FC. We raised funds by inviting family and friends to cheer along and donate small amounts.

This year we went all out and hired Winklebury football ground and had a few hundred people turn up to watch the game. We raised funds by ticketing the event, asking players to donate to play, running a BBQ, raffle and silent auction. We did everything we could to make this year a big fundraiser and it didn’t disappoint. We raised £1,000 on the day! I’m proud to have been able to double our fundraising amount through NewVoiceMedia Foundation’s matched funding scheme.

What was involved in organising the memorial match?

Organising the event is a team effort with around 10-15 people pitching in. A lot of time and effort went into organising this event and having the support of our Foundation made life a lot easier. I was able to use paid volunteering hours to source raffle prizes and sell tickets. I found local businesses were more receptive to my requests for donations or prizes as I was able to approach them during non-peak hours. This is something I would not have easily been able to do without our Foundation programme, so, it was great to have this support.

What was your favourite moment during the event?

It would have to be the atmosphere. It was a really fun day, and a fantastic way to remember a great man whilst raising money for a brilliant charity. We knew Richard was looking down on us as the sun was shining!

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