One man's report
'Wear Your Town Shirt at Work' day 2007
2 April 2007
This month sees the fourth annual 'Wear Your Town Shirt at Work' day, which raises money for Grimsby's local care centre and charity St Andrew's Hospice. The event is the brainchild of lifelong Town fan Mike Gresham, who explains more about the hospice and how you can help by putting on the black and white on Friday 27 April.
St Andrew's Hospice exists to care for people of all ages who have a progressive life-limiting illness and require palliative care. All our services are provided free of charge to patients and their families. St Andrew's is available to anyone who needs specialist hospice care.
On our site at Peaks Lane we have an Adult Hospice and a Children's Hospice. The Adult Hospice, which has been in Grimsby for 26 years now, offers a range of services including symptom control, respite care, rehabilitation and terminal care. Anyone can refer a patient to the hospice, although we always consult the patient's GP before admission. Our staff work closely with all the other relevant health care professionals to provide a co-ordinated and seamless range of care.
The Children's Hospice has been running for six years and provides care for 28 children each week, with four in-patient beds for children or adolescents available at any one time. The Children's Hospice provides largely respite care on a daily or weekly basis, although terminal care is also available.
Apart from the day and in-patient care, the Hospice provides a wide range of services which improve the quality of people's lives. These include complementary therapies, physiotherapy, creative therapy, pet-assisted therapy, music therapy, chiropody clinics and lymphodemia clinics. There is also 'My Time': a group for the carers of patients which offers them the opportunity to relax and talk to others who are in similar situations. We hold regular 'sibling days' to give them the opportunity to be the focus of attention and enjoy the facilities at the hospice. Bereavement counselling is also an important aspect of hospice care.
As a registered charity the hospice is almost entirely reliant on the local community to fund our valuable work. The current running costs are £2.3million, and the 'Wear Your Town Shirt at Work' day, one of our community-based fundraising initiatives, is good for both the hospice and the football club, which has done lots to help the hospice over the years.
I am a lifelong Town fanatic. I am 52 but started going on my dad's shoulders, as they say, from about the age of five. I reckon I have just about seen it all in my lifetime of supporting the mighty Mariners. The greatest game I have ever seen was the 2-2 draw with West Ham in the 1966 League Cup quarter-final, when I was 11. A policeman told me off for dropping an orange – part of my packing-up my mother did for me, cos I was in the ground at 6:30! – onto the perimeter of the pitch. At the other end of the scale, I was in the crowd when we played Brentford just three short years later in 1969, when only 1,800-odd were there!
I have a five-year-old dog named Buckley, so you can guess what the great man means to me. I regale everyone I see about the quality of the football under his two previous spells in charge – and what a lot of fans don't give credit for is the respect we had throughout the football world for the quality of the football on offer. Was it Peter Reid who said at the time that if he could to go to any match he would go and watch Grimsby because they play the best football in the country? Marvellous!
I started at St Andrew's Hospice about five years ago and wanted to combine the two great loves of my life – the club and the Hospice – both community-based organisations that make Grimsby great. This is the fourth year this event has been held, and so far it has raised well over £10,000. This year we hope to raise £4-5000 to boost hospice funds.
People who have taken part in previous years have said how enjoyable the day has been with lively banter with their colleagues, and how generous people have been with their sponsorship for fans wearing one of the most distinctive and famous kits in the football league for charity!
To take part in this year's 'Wear Your Town Shirt at Work' day visit the St Andrew's Hospice website, where you can find contact details for Mike and download posters and sponsor forms (fans of other clubs can also take part but have to pay a £5 'fine' – rightly so, in our opinion).