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Haverhill ground to host charity match for Whittlesford dad-of-three diagnosed with cancer

A non-league footballer who has been diagnosed with stage four cancer at the age of just 35 said he has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the fund-raising efforts that are being made on his behalf.

Toby Dawson, the player-manager of Whittlesford United, was speaking in advance of a match between a Sawston Veterans XI and a Haverhill Rovers legends team at The Culina Hub (The New Croft) in Haverhill on Friday, November 29.

The father of three children, aged 17, 12 and two, was diagnosed with stomach and gullet cancer on October 1.

Toby Dawson in action for Whittlesford United. Contributed picture
Toby Dawson in action for Whittlesford United. Contributed picture

So far, a number of charity matches and various events have been held at non-league clubs in the south Cambridgeshire area to boost a fund-raising drive (go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tobydawson) set up by his old friends Lee Pacey, Simon Warren and Jamie Campbell to help Toby, who has had to give up his job because of his cancer.

Toby, who has played for Whittlesford, Sawston United, Ely City and Great Shelford, said: “Simon sorted the (New Croft) game out and the whole thing, together with the money raised is between Lee, Simon and Jamie.

“Them three have really pushed it and it’s been so overwhelming. I said to them ‘you three, what you want to do, the money is not the important bit, it’s the love that’s been shown to me, that’s what matters the most’.”

As just a flavour of the things being done to raise money for Toby, Comberton United held a race night last Saturday; this Saturday Over Sports are holding a raffle at its Boogie Nights event, on November 26 Newmarket Town will play a charity match against a Soham veterans team; on December 1 a footgolf day is being held at Milton FC and on December 7 Whittlesford Social Club is holding a race night.

Toby said: “It’s been amazing really. The football family has really come together.”

While his cancer is inoperable, Toby said he is now waiting on a start date – any day now – for him to take part in the trial of a new drug, GI278, that is in its final stage of testing before being given a licence and which he has been told is the ‘best drug out there’ for his type of cancer.

The match at the New Croft kicks off at 7.30pm and entry is free but a bucket collection will be held. There is also a raffle and an auction being held to raise more money.

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