Friends and colleagues of a police officer who died after taking part in a football match took to the pitch for an event in his memory.
Father-of-two PC Andy Hill, based at Burslem police station, died in November after collapsing following a game of football with colleagues.
the 35-year-old was manager of Caverswall FC’s under-13s boys’ team and they were one of six teams to play at the memorial day at Vale Park yesterday.
The event was organised by former colleague Sgt Pete Slin and Any Mapperson, chairman of Uttoxeter Referee Association, who refereed Mr Hill’s last match.
Mr Mapperson, aged 54, from Stone, said: “Andy played football in the Uttoxeter league and I refereed there. He was really into his football so I thought it would be nice to put a day together for him.
“People saw him as an individual who got on with his work and someone who everyone respected.
“So many people have wanted to get involved with the day, we could have had 30 people playing on each side. That’s how popular Andy was.”
Three matches were held throughout the day.
First up was Midland Police Veterans, made up of players from across Staffordshire, Merseyside, Derbyshire, Cheshire and the West Midlands. They lost to a team of Vale Stars including a former manager Martin Foyle and reserves manager Andy Porter.
Andy, aged 39, said: “I love playing football and I have missed it since I finished with the first team so I like playing in charity matches like this when I can.
“A lot of the lads have turned up to support the event. It was such a shock to hear how Andy died and we think this is a nice way to remember him”
All the money raised from the day will be donated to CRY, a charity chosen by Andy’s widow Pippa.
The 35-year-old, from Caverswall said: “The event was very important to me as a tribute to a fantastic husband, friend and dad.
“I chose CRY because it is a charity that supports cardiac arrest in young people. The money could help diagnose cardiac problems in young people.”
The day’s other matches saw Caverswall Under 13s take on Stone Dominoes Under 13s and Staff Police Veterans take on Uttoxeter and District Sunday League Veterans.
‘Andy had a huge influence on the kids’
Dave Clark, aged 39, from Holmes Chapel, who is the brother-in-law of Andy Porter, said: “I’ve come to support Andy and the cause – I think it is a very good one.”
John Wain, aged 41, of Longton, who is new manager of Caverswall Under 13s, said: “Andy had a huge influence on the kids. Al the lads have been looking forward to today.”
Sharon Armstrong, manager of Stone Dominoes Under 13s, said: “I have a huge amount of respect for Andy. He always put the boys first. He was a really nice guy.”