More than £2,700 has been raised in tribute to former Brighton and Southwick footballer John Shepherd who died aged 86 earlier this year.
John had been living with the neurological condition Parkinson’s for five years, and his family decided to raise money for charity Parkinson’s UK in his memory.
The family’s fund-raising activity included a memorial football match held last month at Southwick FC, which raised more than £1,000. John spent more than 30 years working at Brighton and Hove Albion, first as a player and then as a scout and youth team coach. In 1965 he became player/manager of Southwick and enjoyed many years of success.
The football match in his memory involved former players of both Brighton and Southwick. John’s son Dominic and grandsons Greg, Daniel and Lewis all played in the match. Dominic, for Brighton, and Greg and Daniel, for Southwick, all scored while Lewis had a busy time as Southwick goalkeeper, with the entertaining game ending in a 4-4 draw.
Southwick also re-named their stand in John's honour and, before the match kicked-off, the 'John Shepherd Stand' was officially opened by Sussex FA chairman Mathew Major and Sussex FA board member Tony Kybett.
Julie Ryan, daughter of John Shepherd, said: “In 2013 my dad began to show symptoms of shaky hands and feeling a little off balance, which led to the odd fall. A year later he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and his symptoms gradually progressed until his death in June 2018, by which time he had severe mobility difficulties among other symptoms. For a man who was so active and sporty, it was an especially cruel condition.
“This is why the football match supported Parkinson’s UK. All the money we’ve raised will help improve the lives of other people with Parkinson’s and will support research to find a cure.”
Parkinson’s UK is the leading charity driving better care, treatments and quality of life for those with the condition. Its mission is to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson's through cutting edge research, information, support and campaigning.
As well as the memorial match, John’s family have raised money through a Just Giving page and by collecting donations at his funeral.
Leigh-Beth Stroud, Parkinson’s UK’s regional fundraiser in the South East, said: “We want to say a huge thank you to John’s family for choosing to support Parkinson’s UK with their fundraising. We’d also like to thank Southwick FC for hosting the football match and to all the players involved. It was a lovely tribute to John.
“Every penny raised in support of Parkinson’s UK will take us a step closer to a cure for the condition and support those living with its effects.”
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