When father of two Andy Hemington from Bushey started Dads on the Pitch back in 2013, he never could have imagined raising almost £100,000 for charity through his passion for football.
Dads on the Pitch (DOTP) have raised a whopping sum of £95,000 by organising and playing charity matches at stadiums up and down the country and auctioning signed items from supportive professional players.
In 2021 alone DOTP has raised £14,000 through charity matches with many more scheduled for the rest of the year.
It all began eight years ago at Watford FC’s Vicarage Road Stadium in 2013 and Anthony Joshua, World Heavyweight Champion and football legends Neville Southall, Mark Wright and Luther Blissett attended the first charity match of many.
Founder Andy Hemington said: “A lot of fellow dads from Bushey and Oxhey FC used to meet up at Power league in Bushey to play football on Sunday evenings. In 2013, my wife Georgina ran the London Marathon for Action for Kids. Our whole family was so proud of her achievements and set up a game at Vicarage Road to make even more money for Action for Kids and Bushey and Oxhey FC.
“An old school friend Jose Faldes offered to sponsor the day and play in the match and the Joseph Scott team was formed, that still exists today and now plays against the Scala financial services team, captained by Scott Patmore who is also the secretary of the Herts Senior County League.”
DOTP now supports a range of charities in Hertfordshire including Action for Kids, Dreamflight, Children With Cancer, Watford Mencap, Peace Hospice Care, and is raising money for High Five for Ollie and Islas Fight, treatment for youngster Isla Caton who has a rare form of cancer, Neuroblastoma.
Over the years, DOTP has gone from strength to strength and played on 24 professional pitches, something most football fans could only dream of. In 2021, DOTP travelled up and down the country and played in six matches so far at the home grounds of Sheffield Wednesday, Luton, Crystal Palace, West Brom, West Ham and an afternoon at Berkhamsted FC with Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy and Watford legends Luther Blissett and Tommy Mooney.
On June 26, DOTP played two games at their largest stadium yet, the London Stadium, formerly the Olympic Stadium, home ground of West Ham. The U19 game ended in a 1-1 draw, followed by an adult game that ended 3-2. The day raised £4,400 and the U19 match featured current and former players from Berkhamsted, Kings Langley, Leverstock Green, Hemel Town Youth, Bushey and Oxhey and Bushey Sports club.
Isla Caton and her family, who DOTP fundraise for, attended the special day. They were joined by Premier League academy players from Watford and Norwich, who were originally Bushey and Oxhey players. Other former players to get involved this year are Lloyd Doyley, who played over 400 times for Watford, and West Ham heroes Mark Ward and Alan Dickens.
As DOTP approach the staggering fundraising figure of £100,000, founder Andy Hemington along with key sponsor and Scala team captain Scott Patmore are planning the biggest and most exciting game yet against a whole team of former Watford legends at Sun Sports Club in Watford. Another team captain and main sponsor Jose Faldes is determined for DOTP to play a game in his Spanish homeland, and is looking into the feasibility of playing at a sunny La Liga Stadium in 2022.
Andy concluded: “The biggest achievement for me would be going past the £100,000 mark, at which point I might put my playing boots away and stick to management!”
For more information visit dadsonthepitch.co.uk or contact Andy on 07956 644038.