Families unite in Barnaby’s memory

Thame charity football match
Thame charity football match

Hundreds of people from Thame have helped raise more than £7,000 in memory of Barnaby Cork during a family fun day fundraiser.

The day was hosted at the ASM Stadium who donated the football stadium for free, with the main event being a football match between Thame Dads - teachers at John Hampden, Barnaby’s primary school - and the Iron Maiden XI, a squad created by band member Steve Harris.

Thame Charity Football Match organisers, from left, Sarah Stevenson, Sharons Smits, Stuart and Lisa Gibson.

Thame Charity Football Match organisers, from left, Sarah Stevenson, Sharons Smits, Stuart and Lisa Gibson.

Barnaby died aged four following a tragic accident at Thame Leisure Centre car park in December.

The event for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance was described as an amazing success with an estimated 400 people attending on Bank Holiday Monday.

Along with the football match, which Thame Dads won 2 - 1, there was fun with Beat the Goalie at half time, face painting, bouncy castle, Zorbing and Lego tables.

Four Thame parents, Stuart and Lisa Gibson, Sarah Stevens and Sharon Smits, spent weeks organising the event, with stalls and raffle prizes for a grand draw.

Mrs Gibson said: “We have been completely overwhelmed by what happened as so many of us know the family. It has been amazing to see the support not just for the family but also for the air ambulance.

“It is sad that it takes something so tragic and awful like this to happen for people to support the charity. But people have been so generous letting us use the stadium for free, donating prizes, donating their time and of course donating money.”

Thame businesses also generously donated luxury prizes for the raffle, including a week’s holiday in a Mallorca villa.

Former head teacher Alan Haigh, who compered during the football match, said: “It is great being involved in a community event such as this. The charity football match was a true community effort by the people of Thame, who were big hearted in their support of this event and the TVAA charity. Support came from the surrounding towns and villages too, with one pensioner being so touched he travelled on the bus from Oxford just to donate to the TVAA.”