The sporting world is synonymous with rivalry and an intense focus on personal ambition.
But vying for victory in their chosen disciplines isn’t all that consumes many men and women in our area.
Across the local sporting spectrum, there are athletes and officials who go out their way to boost life-saving charities. Both publicly and privately, they make a difference.
Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, for example, benefits hugely from high profile backers.
World Cup football referee Howard Webb sums up why he and others are involved: “We all know somebody who has been affected by cancer, and we all know somebody who has been treated at Weston Park Hospital.”
These are some who have aided the charity:
Adam Etches and Scott Jenkins
These two boxers were picked as charity ‘ambassadors’ and have taken part in events over the past couple of raising cash for Weston Park Teenage Cancer Unit, in particular.
The events included sell-out charity boxing dinners, running the Sheffield Half Marathon, Run in the Park, Light the Night and several promotional appearances.
Recently, with the backing of his sponsors, MDL, Etches pledged to raise over £20,000 for the specialised unit as part of The Star’s KO Cancer Campaign.
Sarah Stevenson MBE
Doncaster’s former taekwondo Olympian started supporting the charity a few years ago after losing both her parents to cancer in the space of just a few months.
Her dad was treated at Weston Park and as a thank you for his care, Sarah vowed to help support the place where he spent his final days, receiving excellent support.
Sarah officially opened the new Clinical Research Unit last year.
She has also offered support through social media and held a tea party at the GB Taekwondo centre in Manchester.
Twice world champion darts player Dennis ‘The Menace’ Priestley was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and received radiotherapy at Weston Park. He has supported the charity’s work by attending a launch in Doncaster and helping promote work undertaken at the hospital for patients from Doncaster.
Patron of the charity, Sheffield United mainstay Chris Morgan has represented the WPH several times and taken a lead on the ‘Extra Time’ campaign a couple of years ago. Chris has also supported patient visits at the hospital alongside fellow United players and colleagues. Chris has shown interest in taking on this years Run in the Park event and hopes to bring along some Bramall Lane players too. Dave McCarthy, Operations Director at Sheffield United, is also a backer.
Sheffield’s golden Olympian has supported the charity for years, attending Light the Night in 2012 (through her local Ecclesall Woods) and recently supporting through online initiatives. Jessica helped was one of the ‘top golden’ fundraisers’ at the night walk to encourage more sponsorship for the charity.
Yorkshire cricket great and Patron, Barnsley-born Gough has offered his support to the charity over the years by holding a golf day, making public appearances and recently being the face of the charity’s tea party campaign, Time for Tea. He encouraged supporters to ‘pop the kettle on’ in May and raise funds to support the hospital.
The club mourned the death of ice hockey fan and WPH patient Amy Usher recently and will keep her memory alive. It is possible the club will keep her name on the ice at the Arena and possibly embroider on their team shirts.
Steelers players and staff loved Amy - almost the entire club turned out for her funeral.
Spokesman Dave Simms said: “It was inspirational to know Amy - there was nobody connected to our club whose lives were not enriched by meeting her. She changed all our lives and our views.”
Others WPH supporters include Uriah Rennie (Referee) Joslyn Hoyte-Smith (Former Olympian Athlete) and Steve Peat (Professional Mountain Biker.)