A charity volunteer from Croydon received the surprise of his life when he received a call from a World Cup-winner to tell him that his football initiative had won a worldwide competition – and a £10,000 donation to his chosen causes.
Jamie Groves, the regional development director at Funeral Partners, has co-organised two star-studded football matches in the last 18 months called Goals 4 GOSH, which have raised more than £60,000 for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
Groves’s charity work – alongside fellow volunteer and co-organiser Charlotte Styles – was recognised in a contest run by Italian football club Como, who were looking for heroes in the community in their Cheers 4 Christmas campaign.
They have pledged to donate £10,000 to the charity and given Groves an iPad and a replica Como shirt.
Unbeknown to Groves, his wife Roxanne had nominated him and Goals 4 GOSH for the award and taken part in secret meetings to share information about his work.
Groves only found out when he received a video call from Cesc Fabregas, the former Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea and Spain midfielder who is playing for Como.
“My wife had set it all up – I had absolutely no idea,” Groves said.
“I got a video call from an Italian number and didn’t have a clue what was happening, but Roxanne knew and was filming me so they could put it on their Instagram.
“He was a really good guy, so humble, and seemed to know so much about what we had achieved.”
There was one awkward moment for Groves when he revealed that he supports Tottenham Hotspur. “He asked me which team I followed, and we had a good laugh about it,” Groves said.
“The recognition is great, but the donation of £10,000 is what it is all about and will make a big difference.”
Goals 4 GOSH was one of eight winners from across the globe who had done notable things for charities or good causes.
Over the last two summers, Goals 4 GOSH has been played at Selhurst Park, and has included Anton Ferdinand, Lianne Sanderson and Hollywood actor Tamer Hassan in its teams.
The games have been put on with the support of Pinks Funeral Directors, A Yeatman & Sons Funeral Directors, Gillman Funeral Service and other Funeral Partners funeral homes in South London.
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