Tragic local football referee Roger Evans suffered a cardiac arrest and died just minutes after blowing the final whistle - but his memory lives on, as part of a campaign to fund life-saving equipment in the grassroots football community.
Dronfield official Roger passed away immediately after a game between South Normanton and Borrowash Victoria Reserves.
Despite attempts to save him, Roger was pronounced dead on the pitch - and no defibrillator was available at the ground to aid the resuscitation attempts.
Roger’s wife Sue - and their two children, Helen and Richard - decided to set up a charitable fund in memory of Roger, to provide defibrillators across South Yorkshire at appropriate and well-used grassroots football sites.
And last week, 35 of the potentially life-saving machines were delivered to clubs and venues in the Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA area, and others in north Derbyshire, at a special event at Bramall Lane.
Sue and her family have been at the forefront of raising almost £15,000, with further funding and support from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS).
The Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA provided an initial donation to start the fund, with The Star also lending support to the cause.
All the individuals for the clubs and venues were in the 1889 Suite at Bramall Lane to collect framed certificates from Uriah Rennie, the former Premier League referee, who spoke of his friendship and working relationship with Roger as a referee and linesman.
An emotional evening was completed by Sue thanking all the people involved, and her family and friends and their help and support. Sue admitted she still missed Roger, but added that the fact that something positive had come from losing him had helped her cope.
“Rog, a caring and enthusiastic man, always looked to solve problems and make positive things happen, even in difficult circumstances,” she said.
“What has been achieved, thanks to generous support from many individuals and organisations, is a proactive step to helping others, which would have his wholehearted approval.”
Richard Finney, spokesperson for S&HCFA, added: “The County FA is proud to have played a part in this appeal, and we sincerely thank Sue and her family for their commitment.”