World Cup referee Howard Webb swapped Brazil and Portugal for a grassroots game of football in Rotherham - in memory of a friend.
He agreed to referee a charity game in memory of Garry Cartlidge of Sunnyside, Rotherham, who died of cancer three weeks ago at the age of 44.
Garry’s eight-year-old son, Dylan, who plays for Whiston Wildcats U9s, organised the game against Pannal Ash FC from Harrogate and it is hoped the fixture will become an annual event.
Altogether, through the game, a curry night and other events, a total of £4,462 has been raised for Rotherham Hospice and an additional £922 for both Weston Park and the Children’s Hospital, where three years ago Dylan was treated for juvenile dermatomyositis - an autoimmune disease which only affects one in three million children and left him unable to move anything but his head at the time.
Dylan’s mum, Theresa, said the youngster came up with the idea of the charity football match while he was visiting his dad at Rotherham Hospice.
“Dylan turned to me and his big brother Harry, who is 11, and said he wanted to hold a charity football match for his dad and told us he would be asking Howard to referee it,” she said.
“We all enjoyed it so much, we might make it an annual thing.
“Howard was absolutely brilliant, he refereed, sent some lads off playfully, signed boots, autographs and pictures - we really can’t thank him enough and all those who have supported us with their time and given so generously. “
Hospice chief executive, Christopher Duff, said: “We are very grateful- and dependent- on our amazing supporters like Dylan and his family.”