Signed Premier League football shirts up for grabs in unique sporting auction to support the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance
Signed shirts from the Scottish Premiership and international rugby teams will also be among the lots up for auction
The head of kit and equipment for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is going to auction a unique haul of personally signed shirts - including shirts from all 92 clubs in the Premier League and Football League pyramid, in memory of his late father Charlie Dukes.
Steve Dukes will start the online auction today (Friday), lasting for one week to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Charlie Dukes' untimely death and will raise vital funds for the work of Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT).
Signed shirts from the worlds of international football, rugby, Old Firm rivals Glasgow Rangers and Celtic and the National League will also be available to bid for in the auction.
On May 18, 2020, 73-year-old Charlie, from Goffs Oak, in Hertfordshire told his wife Jill that he was cycling to a nearby farm to pick up some sticks for use on his garden vegetable patch. It was a short ride and one that Charlie, an experienced cyclist, had made many times. Tragically it was a journey that Charlie did not complete.
A short while later a passer-by found Charlie at the side of a track, unconscious and with a serious injury to his head.
An East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) team and a critical care team from EHAAT were quickly on the scene. The charity’s team prepared Charlie for the short flight to Royal London Hospital, a major trauma centre, where he could receive specialist care.
When Steve, his brother John and Jill arrived at the hospital doctors told them Charlie was on life-support. Sadly, despite the best efforts of the EHAAT team and the staff at the hospital, Charlie’s injuries were just too severe. He passed away five days later without regaining consciousness.
Despite the devastation of their loss, Steve says he and his family were relieved to know that everything that could have been done to help Charlie that day had been done thanks to the efforts of EEAST and EHAAT working together.
He said: “We were comforted by the fact that because of the air ambulance dad got the best possible care at the scene, giving him the greatest chance of survival.
"I’d watched programmes about air ambulances in the past, but I didn’t realise they are charities. That’s why I want to do some fundraising, to say thank you.”
Steve has persuaded his many friends in the sporting world, including first team players from Tottenham Hotspur, to help him raise funds through promoting this very special online auction through their social media channels.
Beginning today, the auction will close on Sunday, May 23, the anniversary of Steve’s father’s passing. The auction of sporting shirts consists of 106 individual lots, each personally signed by players from the donating teams and includes contributions from:
> All 92 English football league clubs
> Barnet, Woking and Yeovil Town from the National League
> Glasgow Rangers and Celtic from the Scottish Premiership
> International football team shirts from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
> International rugby team shirts from Scotland and Wales, as well as Nick Tompkins’ match worn shirt from the Wales vs Ireland Six Nations Tournament 2021
> Saracens Rugby Football Club.
To take part in the auction, fans and supporters can simply click here to register and start bidding. If you don’t want to join the auction, but would still like to make a donation you can visit the Just Giving page that Steve has set up.
Steve is determined to keep the memory of his father alive. Charlie was a devoted husband, father and grandfather, an active man who loved every aspect of life. He had an amazing smile that would brighten up any room.
Steve added: “We were devastated by his death but we are so grateful for what EHAAT did for him and for the assistance the charity has given us since.
"In particular EHAAT’s Patient Liaison Managers have provided us with emotional support and we now have a better understanding of the injuries he sustained. They have answered the many questions we needed to ask, which has been a real comfort.
“We want people to support EHAAT so that they can carry on providing this invaluable service for other families that need help. At the same time, we also want to raise awareness about the importance of wearing cycle helmets.
"This is my way of keeping the candle alight for my dad. I want to keep his memory strong by helping to raise funds. I’ve spoken to a lot of people in football, and between us I am confident we can raise a lot of money."
EHAAT’s Fundraising Manager Natasha Robertson said: “Everyone at the charity has been deeply touched by Steve’s story.
"Sadly, our crews cannot save every patient they attend, but we are pleased to hear that Steve and his family have been reassured by the fact that Charlie got the best possible care at the scene of his accident.
“We were amazed to hear about Steve’s plans for what promises to be a truly special fundraising auction. It will be an exciting week and we look forward to seeing the result.
"We hope that Steve and his family are comforted by the fact that the funds raised through his unique auction lots will help ensure our critical care teams can be there for other families when they need them most."