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Former Sheffield United and Doncaster star has a ball for charity

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Footballer Billy Sharp returned to his boyhood club for a fundraising tournament for the charity he set up following the death of his son.

Billy was back at Middlewood Rovers as part of the latest event for the Luey Jacob Sharp (LSJ) Foundation.

The foundation was set up in January 2012 by the ex-Sheffield United striker and his partner Jade Fair after their two-day-old son died as a result of gastroschisis.

It is aiming to raise £60,000 to support other families affected by the condition – with more than £20,000 collected so far.

Under-18s and under-11s tournaments were held, as well as a fundraising auction and a raffle.

Sheffield United star Harry Maguire also popped along to watch some of the games and present trophies to the winners.

Now following the success of the event, a similar tournament is being planned for next year.

Billy, who was on loan at Doncaster last season from Southampton, said: “The LJS Cup fundraiser proved to be an even bigger success than we thought.

“We’d like to thank everyone who turned up and helped us raise some vital funds. “We’re confident that we’ll reach our £60,000 target but it’s events like this that remind myself and Jade that we’re not alone.

“The pain of losing your child is almost unbearable and we’re reaching out to medical researchers who want to improve outcomes for gastroschisis.

“Our aim is to ensure no family has to endure what Jade and I have.”

Gastroschisis is a birth defect in which a baby’s intestines grow on the outside of the body.

In the past only 10 per cent of such babies survived but now there’s a 90 per cent survival rate thanks to improved surgical repair.

 

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