SJA to stage collection in memory of Doug Gardner

The SJA committee has decided to hold a collection at its British Sports Journalism Awards on Monday night to benefit the Liam Ross Foundation, a new charity established to honour the memory of a 13-year-old lad who collapsed and died just before Christmas.

Liam, pictured, was the nephew of Trevor Gardner, himself the nephew of the SJA’s former chairman and secretary, Doug Gardner, who served on the Association’s committee for 28 years and was a member of the then SWA for 40 years.

Trevor recently contacted the SJA asking us to support the Liam Ross Foundation, which hopes to raise funds for the Cardiac Risk in the Young at a special benefit night to be staged in Liverpool on March 20.

“Liam was a fantastic lad,” Trevor wrote to us. “He was polite and well liked by all, and he did much to make us proud.

“He was like most teenagers. He loved his sport, football, especially Everton, cricket and rugby in equal measure and reached quite a high standard as a goalkeeper.

“But in June last year, Liam collapsed while playing football and was taken to hospital. After various tests over the next couple of months Liam was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and eventually in October he went to Alder Hey hospital for open heart surgery. The operation was a success and over the coming weeks he grew in strength, surprising everyone with the speed of his recovery, finally going back to school and playing football again. As a family we all felt extremely lucky.

“Then, on December 16 last year, Liam collapsed and died. We are all devastated.”

The fund-raising night planned for Liverpool later this month is an attempt by Liam’s family to help Cardiac Risk in the Young. “They have been extremely supportive to the family and are continuing to raise the awareness of this serious and devastating issue,” Trevor says.

The family has sought auction items from major sports clubs in the north-west, and have been given support by Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers and Lancashire CCC.

On Monday night at The Brewey in London, it will be the SJA’s turn to help. Envelopes will be available on every table at the Sports Journalism Awards for those attending to make a cash donation towards the cause.

Doug Gardner gave up 28 years of service for the SJA – all we ask is that you give up a few pounds in memory of a young relative who died far too young, and perhaps we can help other families avoid such tragedy.

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