Charity begins at home (to West Ham and Man City)

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Two sources of inspiration, each concerning Sunderland fans and responses to grave illness, should divert minds briefly from our relatively unimportant preoccupation with Premier League survival.

Salut! Sunderland readers may recall a posting that recorded the death of a remarkably spirited man known as Hazey who used his blog, Dull Ramblings, to chart the battle against cancer that he finally lost just a few days after his last, typically forthright posting, in the first week of January.

Friends of Hazey, real name Graeme Kerton, were already in the process of helping him turn his far from dull ramblings into a book.

Anyone who has dipped into the blog will know that its words, while not for the squeamish, are those of a bright, thoughtful man who should have had decades more to live but used some of what little time was left to him to leave a lively, combative and motivational memoir

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That book, My Dark Friend is now published, and takes the form of a full collection of his blog writings, supported by photos, comments and quotes. Go to the website for the book to buy it.

Limited copies will also be available at a book launch and charity race night, entitled Remembering Graeme ‘Hazey’ Kerton and planned for the Black Cats bar at the Stadium of Light on March 29, starting a couple of hours after the final whistle in the home game against West Ham.

Book sale proceeds will be used by Graeme’s widow towards setting up an animal sanctuary, a project she and her husband had often discussed.

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Two weeks later, on April 12, the Billingham branch of the SAFC Supporters’ Association stages its annual charity walk up the A19 to the Stadium, prior to the home game against Man City.

The money raised will be divided between Zoe’s Place, described as one of only two Baby Hospices in the whole of the country; Daisy Chain, which plans to build an overnight respite and family care centre for children with autism and special needs and the SAFC Foundation.

The walk has also been discussed at Salut! Sunderland. Readers with a reliable memory will know that I promised a donation towards the collection and sponsorship associated with the walk.

Because I am still waiting for my first payment from Amazon, for commission on purchases made by readers via my websites, I have produced the money from part of my share of the proceeds of a chapter writte for A Love Supreme’s Christmas book, More 24 Hour SAFC People.

Accordingly, I am glad to say that my grand royalties cheque for £50 has been sent from ALS towers near the stadium, and was the first contribution received by the organisers (or at least it would have been if the cheque had been signed…….that is now being rectified).

But hang on.

That represents only about half of my total income from the book. Instead of providing another good excuse for using my “liquor licence'” – the magical document that is essential to the business of getting a few drinks in at home here in the Gulf – the rest will go to MacMillan Cancer Support, ALS’s recommended charity for contributors choosing to forego their dosh.

I’d sooner you bought the book, if you still can, but if you want to read my chapter without making such an ambitious purchase, it can be seen at the Salut! Sunderland overspill site.

Perhaps I will now turn my attention to buying couple of copies of Hazey’s book and offering them as prizes in a competition marking the imminent “40,000 Up” notices at this stadium of internet light.

* Please help both these causes:
Hazey’s book, once again, may be ordered at www.hazeysbook.co.uk

and if you wish to do your bit for the Billingham walkers, seek them out on the day or send a donation – cheque made out to Billingham & District Branch of Sunderland Supporters – to Barney Warren 22 Deighton Grove, BILLINGHAM TS23 3UD.

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