Tribute match for footballer helps charity

Friends and family of a popular former footballer came together to raise hundreds of pounds for a heart charity,

Saturday, 4th June 2016, 3:00 pm
Charity football match at The Grange to raise funds for the Johnny Bickers fund for Cry. EMN-160531-120106009

Ten years after Jonny Bickers died aged 30 from a sudden heart attack at his home in Woodston, dozens of people joined together to play a football match, before having a family fun day for the good cause.

And it was a real family occasion with Jonny’s son Lucas playing in goal - just like his dad did for Bretton Albion, March Town and Whittlesey United. Jonny’s other son, Jacob, a talented rugby player also played in the match.

Organiser of the day, which took place on Sunday, Matthew McSwiggan (39) said the event was a perfect tribute to former self-employed builder Jonny.

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Charity fundraiser at Fletton Ex-servicemens club to raise funds for the Johnny Bickers fund for Cry. Pictured are players Kevin and Matt McSwiggan and Dev Patel with the event organisers EMN-160531-120941009

He said: “Jonny was my best friend.

“We met aged three, and went to school together.

“He was a real gentle giant, a great dad and a big character. He had a big presence.

“He died 10 years ago, and a few of us said we should go and have a few drinks. Word got round and soon about 100 people wanted to come, so we organised a football match at The Grange.

Charity fundraiser at Fletton Ex-servicemens club to raise funds for the Johnny Bickers fund for Cry. Pictured are players Kevin and Matt McSwiggan and Dev Patel with the event organisers EMN-160531-120941009

“Both his sons came along to play, and while it was a friendly match, it was a bit competitive as well.

“We then went to the Fletton Ex-servicemens Club for a family fun day - there was a disco, entertainment, and fun and games for children.

“We had about 150 people come along, and we were raising money for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

“In the end we managed to raise more than £700 for the cause, which is a fantastic amount.

“His mum, dad, sister and partner all came down on the day as well. It was great that so many people wanted to come and remember him.

“I am sure Jonny was looking down on us with a big smile on his face.

“I think he would have been proud of what we did.”