Striker returns in son’s memory

Billy Sharp dedicates his Doncaster goal to son, Luey.
Billy Sharp dedicates his Doncaster goal to son, Luey.
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A Sheffield footballer is returning to his boyhood club to raise money in memory of his son who died at just two days old.

Former Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp will be back at Middlewood Rovers as part of a two-day tournament on Saturday and Sunday, May 10 and 11.

Billy’s son, Luey Jacob, was born with the birth defect gastroschisis, in which a baby’s intestines grow on the outside of the body.

The footballer and his partner, Jade Fair, set up the LJS Foundation following their loss in 2011, and have set a fundraising target of £60,000.

The tournament features under-18s and under-11s contests, with proceeds towards research into gastroschisis.

In the past, only 10 per cent of babies with the disorder survived, but now the survival rate is 90 per cent, thanks to improved surgical techniques.

Billy, currently on loan at Doncaster Rovers from Southampton FC, said: “It’s going to be great to be back at my old club where everything started for me.

“The event provides a great opportunity for people to have fun while raising some vital money.

“Research into gastroschisis is something close to my heart. The pain of losing your child is almost unbearable and we’re reaching out to researchers who want to improve outcomes.

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

As well as the football, an auction of memorabilia will be taking place, alongside a raffle, bouncy castle, food and refreshments. Admission is free and parking costs £2, including a matchday programme. Both tournaments begin at 10am.

Visit to donate.