Brainchild of long-term Chestnut Tree House supporter, Jamie Westley, Chestnut Tree House Football Club is kick-starting 2018 with a hat-trick of activities to raise funds and awareness for the children’s hospice, which is celebrating its 15th birthday this year.
Kicking off the activities for 2018, January saw the club announce that Brighton & Hove Albion Captain, Bruno Saltor, has become its Ambassador. The Spanish professional footballer visited Chestnut Tree House in 2013 and learnt more about how they help local children with life-shortening conditions and their families. More recently, Bruno supported an event in Brighton organised by Chestnut Tree House FC before Jamie announced that the footballer was becoming an Ambassador.
Quick on the heels of this announcement, Jamie Westley organised Chestnut Tree House FC’s sixth celebrity football match, which took place on Sunday 4 February at Worthing Football Club. A range of celebrities played in the game, including ex Leicester, West Ham and Fulham footballer, Paul Konchesky; Singer, songwriter, Dappy; CBeebies presenter, Sid Sloane; Celebrity Big Brother star, Heavy D; 2013 MasterChef winner, Steven Edwards; actor, Matt Lapinskas; and Sky Sports presenter, Scott Minto.
The match, which ended in a 5-5 draw before the Celebrity Allstars won on penalties, was attended by lots of supporters, who were then able to meet and take photos with the players. Despite losing on the pitch, it was a successful day for Chestnut Tree House as £3,091.64 was raised. This included £500 of match-funding from Lloyds, as well as ticket sales and donations.
The charity’s Football Club founder Jamie Westley said: “I was amazed by the amount raised on the day and the number of people who turned up to watch the match. Chestnut Tree House is such an important cause and I’m just glad I can do something to help.
“It’s great to have Bruno Saltor on board to help spread the word about the charity, and I’m so grateful to the celebrities who joined us for the match. The day would not have been possible without the generous support of our match sponsor, Reliable Heathcare Group, so I would like to thank them, as well as our team sponsors, etch and Brighton & Hove Radio Cabs.”
The final activity – to make it a hat-trick for the charity football team – is the upcoming Charity Gala Evening at The Grand Brighton on Saturday 3 March, which is being held to celebrate Chestnut Tree House’s 15th birthday. Guests will be treated to red carpet arrival, a three-course meal, and an evening of live music and a DJ. There will also be an auction and some fundraising games. A limited number of tickets are still available, priced at £60pp or £550 for a table of 10. Contact Jamie Westley on 07958 577936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alison Taylor, Corporate Fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House said: “The charity football matches and associated events are doing so much to raise funds and increase awareness of Chestnut Tree House to a whole new group of people. Jamie has worked tirelessly for years, raising an incredible amount of money for the charity, and we cannot thank him enough. We’re also delighted that Bruno Saltor has become Ambassador and we’re sure this will help spread the word about the work that we do.
“We need to raise over £3.5 million every year to provide all our specialist care services – both at the hospice and out in the community, and without people like Jamie, and those who support events, we wouldn’t be able to continue caring for local children and families.”
Chestnut Tree House opened its doors on 11 November 2003 and currently provides care and support to around 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families across East Sussex, West Sussex and South East Hampshire – both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The cost of providing this vital service is over £3.5 million per year, yet the hospice receives less than 7% central government funding so relies heavily on the generosity and support of the local community to continue providing vital care to local children and families.