Walsall Healthcare’s Well Wishers charity netted a double success after a fundraising football match they won raised £1,000 to benefit young patients.
Kind-hearted players paid £10 each to play while around 100 spectators paid £5 to watch the game, held at Sporting Khalsa FC’s Guardian Warehousing Arena, Noose Lane, Willenhall.
In addition, hampers of spirits, wine and beauty products were raffled off for £2 each per ticket, while a football card and a £100 donation from architectural ironmongery firm d line, organiser Kyle Davies’s employers, helped push the total to four figures.
The money will go towards refurbishing the children’s play area in Ward 21 at Walsall Manor Hospital.
A fine comeback saw Well Wishers come from behind at half-time to beat Woefulhampton Wanderers 4-1, with captain Ben Malpass scoring twice, and Conor Meehan and Joe Astley completing the scoring.
Well Wishers also won a penalty shootout afterwards 15-10, and its charity patron and former British lightweight boxing champion Martin Gethin, was among the scorers
James Higginson, 49, Kyle’s step dad, captained the opposition team, which was playfully dubbed Woefulhampton Wanderers as Kyle is a Wolves fan.
He said: “I think Well Wishers were the better team and deserved their win but it was very warm and I think we had a record number of cramps! The real winner however was the charity.
“The lads were buzzing in the changing room afterwards and we all gave a round of applause. It was lovely to chat with the Well Wishers lads too.”
Assistant Digital Communications Officer Ben, who also manages the Well Wishers team, said: “It was a really good game with all the lads playing their hardest in the scorching sun. I thought we did really well considering it was our first game for two years.”
The occasion was a real family affair, with Woefulhampton managed by Colin O’Toole, whose sons Liam, 21 – and a former West Bromwich Albion academy scholar – in goal and ex-Redditch United striker Callum, 25, up front.
In addition, brothers Dan and Sean Coughlan, who both play for Sutton United, played in Woefulhampton’s central midfield together.
Woefulhampton took the lead when right midfielder Liam Collier ghosted in at the far post to finish after Joel Powell crossed from the left and striker Callum O’Toole’s shot was blocked.
But skipper and striker Ben led the comeback, coolly converting a low cross from winger Luke Watkins, before heading home after Luke’s fierce angled shot crashed off the underside of the bar.
More pressure from Well Wishers saw Joe centre for Conor to convert from close range before Joe placed his shot in the corner of the net from Lewan Tobin’s low delivery.
Well Wishers thanked Trust colleagues Jordan Jackson, who works as Atrium Ambassador at Walsall Manor, and Graphic Designer Manoj Lakha for running the line, and referee Arthur Smyth for giving their time so sportingly.
Kyle, 25, has already proven he’s a keen Well Wishers supporter after raising £300 to buy young patients at Walsall Manor Hospital Christmas presents. He topped that up by another £360 when he ran the Stafford Half Marathon in March.
He said: “It was a fantastic turnout – over 100 people through the gate and I’m delighted the money will go towards such a worthy cause. A massive thank you to everyone who turned up and gave their time.”
Well Wishers Fundraising and Engagement Manager Georgie Westley said: “It’s great that Kyle decided to support Well Wishers again and we thank him so much for pulling this together.
“While Well Wishers won the game the real winners are the children who will be getting the play area they deserve.”