Derby rivals unite for local family
- 07 January 2012 08:39
- Posted by Rosie Bass
Ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup third round derby match, Manchester’s two Premier League clubs have come together in support of a young family devastated by a house fire.
City centre-half Joleon Lescott and United’s midfielder Tom Cleverley met 18-year old Cailin Van Straaten and four year old Zach Jones at United’s Carrington training base on Friday morning.
The children lost their mother Tracy and 15 year old brother Shaun in a fire at their home in Broadheath in September 2011. Tracy’s former partner, David Potts, also died in the blaze. Cailin suffered 60% burns in the incident and remains in hospital receiving daily treatment; Zach received 20% burns and visits hospital four times a week to have his wounds dressed and to help to manage his pain.
As well as losing their mother and brother, Cailin and Zach lost all their belongings in the fire and Greater Manchester Police have set up a Justgiving page for anyone wishing to make a donation to help give the family a new start in life. Please visit www.justgiving.com/gmp
Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts said:
“This is a tremendous gesture by both clubs, and for them to do this just before their big FA cup match shows that they appreciate some things are more important than football.
“Zach and Cailin have been affected by an absolutely tragic case, which robbed them of a mother and brother.
“The police officers who dealt with this, and the people in Broadheath, were touched immensely after it became apparent that the tragedy also left them with nothing for the future.
“Officers have launched a charity appeal to raise money which will help them in the future, and the success of that appeal has been fantastic.”
Joleon Lescott said: “Meeting Cailin and Zach today was a genuinely humbling experience. For two such young people to suffer such tremendous loss and injury is truly heartbreaking and it is credit to their mother and brother’s memory that they have kept going.
“Despite our obvious rivalry, we were very happy to team up with Manchester United today to help shine a light on the fundraising efforts on the family’s behalf and we would urge fans of both clubs to show their support by making a donation.
“We’re delighted that the family will be our guests at this weekend’s game and hope we can put on a good show for them.”
Tom Cleverley said: “Obviously in this city football is massive but as we’ve been reminded today, there are more important things in life like family and good health. When you hear of stories like this, it does open your eyes.“Even though we are rivals on the pitch, it’s good that we can come together off the pitch and support families like this as one city.
“I can speak for players and say that whenever there are problems at home, when I get on that pitch it goes out of your mind. Hopefully football can have that effect for people who are suffering or are ill. It can give them sme enjoyment and help to put smiles on their faces.
“This tragedy has obviously been devastating for the family. Hopefully they’ve enjoyed coming to Carrington today and as they are United fans, I hope we can win on Sunday to make their visit even more special."