A CAMPAIGN led by the captain of the Solihull Barons ice hockey team to raise money for the cancer unit that treated his wife is set for a grand finale after already smashing its fundraising target.
Rob Eley, from Solihull, is hanging up his skates at the end of the 2015-16 season and to mark his contribution to the team over his illustrious career the Barons granted him a much-deserved testimonial year.
Rob has used the year to raise money for the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Charity’s Ward 19 Cancer Fund through his ‘19for19’ campaign.
Ward 19 is a unit at Heartlands Hospital which specialises in treating haematological cancers such as leukaemia and Rob’s wife Catherine has been a patient on the ward.
The ‘19for19’ campaign aimed to raise £19,000 for Ward 19 through a range of fundraising events throughout the year including a black tie gala dinner and a special match between Solihull Barons and reigning British Elite League champions Sheffield Steelers.
Rob’s testimonial year and therefore his career will come to an end on Sunday (April 24) when the Barons take on a ‘19for19 Legends’ side at the Silver Blades Solihull Ice Rink.
To date the ‘19for19’ campaign has raised over £29,000, smashing its fundraising target and Rob hopes to collect even more at the final testimonial game.
He said: “Thanks to the incredible support the campaign has had we have already hit the target with the testimonial game to come – in fact we’ve so far raised around £29,000. I’m so chuffed as it is a great cause which is really close to my heart and I’m now determined to raise even more money to support the unit and its patients even more.”
Rob said 22 players have been confirmed so far for the ‘legends’ team including many former British Elite Championship stars and it will be led on the night by the Sheffield Steelers title-winning coach Paul Thompson.
Rob added: “It is going to be a really great night, as well as an emotional one being my last game for the Solihull Barons.
“I would like to thank all the guys who have agreed to be a part of the game and especially Paul for agreeing to be the ‘legends’ side’s coach for the night. He is been a great supporter of the campaign having brought his Steelers team to Solihull for the game last year which was a really special occasion for everyone.”
Tickets are priced at £8 for adults, £4 for concessions or £24 for a family ticket and are available from Silver Blades Solihull Ice Rink or by contacting [email protected]
Meanwhile, fans can also buy their own special personalised, signed ‘legends’ jersey for £100 which will be presented to them on the night. A list of which of the ‘legend’s’ jerseys are available can be found at www.solihull-barons.net/19for19updates or email [email protected] to place your order.
One hundred per cent of the proceeds from the jerseys sale and ticket price will go to the ‘19for19’ campaign.
For more information on the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Charity visit www.heartofenglandcharity.org.uk, phone 0121 424 3838 or follow @heftcharity on twitter.