Every year the Goole National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) football team holds a charity football match in memory of their close friend Kyle Akam, from Goole, who sadly passed away in 2013 at the age of 31 after suffering from Cystic Fibrosis and dying due to pneumonia.
During the annual memorial charity match, the dedicated players raise money for the Adult Cystic Fibrosis unit at St James’ Hospital, Leeds, where Kyle was treated. The match is billed as the NUR Young Stallions vs the NUR FC Elder Statesmen. ‘Elder Statesmen’ players who were lucky enough to have Kyle as a supporter or manager are invited back to play.
This year’s fundraiser, held recently at Victoria Pleasure Grounds in Goole, was the sixth annual fundraiser and the fourth Kyle Akam Memorial. Each member of both teams had to find a personal sponsor for the match, which helped raise even more money.
Pete Gregory, an organiser of the event told us: ‘Kyle was a huge supporter of Hull City but was also an avid follower of the NUR FC on a Sunday morning and on the odd occasion when I was unavailable, Kyle would step up to manage the team.
‘Kyle would be in hospital for weeks at a time receiving treatment several times a year so to help out with patient comfort in the unit makes us all immensely proud.
‘We have so far managed to provide each room in the ward with Tassimo coffee machines, crockery, relaxation CDs, adult colouring material and cash donations for furniture and special occasions. We have also managed to provide half of the ward with air conditioning units which are of huge importance to the patients, especially during the summer as it allows them to breathe in cool, clean air. It would be great if we could manage to fill each room.’
Cystic Fibrosis is a condition that effect the lungs and digestive system, and can also effect the pancreas, liver, and kidneys. Kyle suffered a brain haemorrhage and eventually passed away due to pneumonia.
Over the years, the event has become so big that it now takes place over two days. After the charity match the members of the team and supporters headed back to the NUR pub, on Carter Street, Goole, where a raffle took place to raise even more money. Prizes such as wine, chocolates and cosmetics were available to be won.
Further fundraising also took place at the pub on Sunday, April 16, featuring a popular local band called Sandra’s Wedding. Jamie Ward, a close friend of Kyle, said: ‘Kyle and I met through playing football for the NUR – he was one of the kindest and funniest people I knew.
‘I knew the kind of things he had to go through on a daily basis were really tough but he never moaned about it. Kyle got on with his life as though it was normal and he was a real inspiration to me because of that. Doing this event year in year out and the amount of people that help is a testament to Kyle and the amount of hearts and lives he touched.’
A Facebook auction page called ‘The Kyle Akam Charity Auction Page’ was set up where people kindly donate prizes for others to bid for and win – everybody is encouraged to get involved.
The NUR have managed to raise over £20,000 over the years, which has helped to make the patients’ lives as comfortable as possible. This year they raised over £4,000. In its first year, the money raised from the event went toward the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. In the second year of the event, all the money raised was split between the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Unit at St James’ Hospital, Leeds. Since Kyle passed away all money raised has gone solely towards the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Unit.
Pete Gregory told us: ‘Without the generosity of local businesses and patrons of the charity events none of this would be possible, so a huge thanks to everyone that has donated.’
To donate or find out about helping next year, contact Pete Gregory by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.