Monday, September 5th, 2011, 6:15 pm
A CHARITY set up in memory of a Brighton & Hove Albion fan who died tragically during the 9/11 attack on New York has donated £30,000 to football project which helps disabled youngsters to mark the tenth anniversary of the atrocity.
Lifelong seagull Robert Eaton was working in the World Trade Centre when the terrorist planes struck ten years ago this month and friends and fellow Albion fans have been raising cash in his name ever since.
The Robert Eaton Memorial Fund (REMF) has collected more than £100,000 and announced this week that it will commemorate Mr Eaton’s death by funding a brand new mini bus for the Seagulls Specials project with what is the charity’s largest single donation to date.
Other projects which have already benefited from the REMF include football schemes in Mali, Burkino Fasa, South Africa, Cambodia and Vietnam including a charity which helps young HIV victims and others orphaned by civil war.
And in Mr Eaton’s adopted home of Queens the charity has helped provide equipment for Los Peladitos, a football club from a deprived area of the New York borough, providing coaching to 230 Hispanic children aged from five to 16. Cash from the REMF funded a full kit for each player and 150 footballs as part of a three-year sponsorship package.
Since that initial donation to Los Peladitos, the charity has paid for kit for nine junior teams from Sussex, as well as four youth team kits for Wickham Wanderers in Croydon in recognition of the part Crystal Palace fans have played in making the REMF such a success.
Each year supporters of Brighton & Hove Albion face off against a team from rivals Crystal Palace – with proceeds going to the good causes ongoing work and a host of famous names have taken part to help raise funds, including Brighton’s greatest goal scorer Peter Ward, former Brighton boss Peter Taylor and Mr Eaton’s favourite player, Ricky Marlowe, who travels down from Scotland every year to take part.
Elsewhere there have been sponsored cycles, quiz nights, pool and darts competitions, marathon runs and an annual golf day.
The REMF was also named Sussex Charity of the Year by The Argus newspaper in 2009 after being previously shortlisted four times, and a Brighton shirt bearing Mr Eaton’s name on the back now hangs in pride of place in a Manhattan sports bar.
The charity’s chairman, Gareth Glover, said, “We are delighted to help and support the Seagulls Specials for the tenth anniversary.
“Everyone who has helped or donated to the fund in Brighton, Croydon and elsewhere in the last ten years can be very proud of their achievements and we all hope that Robert will be looking down and realise all the good that has been done in his name since that terrible day.”
The 16-seater mini bus will be presented to the Seagulls Specials later this year once it has been converted to the required specification and the REMF logo has been added to the side.
www.oldfootballshirts.com has sponsored the annual REMF football match between Brighton & Crystal Palace fans for the past 3 years, we also sponsored the shirts. This generous donation epitomises the camaraderie present in football fans in the UK. Football supporters are part of an overwhelming community and by raising so much money football fans help make things happen for those less fortunate. Long may it continue!
RIP Robert Eaton.