Kennoway footballers score with funds in memory of Owen Nisbet

Kennoway Soccer Sevens with the cheque.
Kennoway Soccer Sevens with the cheque.

Football stars have joined together to raise thousands of pounds in memory of a young footballer who died aged just 11.

Owen Nisbet died last year, just five weeks after being diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma.

The local community, with help from clubs including East Fife, Hibernian and Raith Rovers, as well as Liverpool midfielder James Milner, have been able to raise £10,200 for the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, which helped Owen and his family throughout his illness.

Kennoway Soccer Sevens coach Rab Lindsay was determined to raise funds for the hospital after the diagnosis.

He said: “When we first found out that Owen was ill, we started fundraising to give the family a much needed holiday.

“We got in touch with the Hibs team – who have always been a great support to us – through their Fife scout.

“They got to work straight away, organising a trip for the family.

“So, we turned our fundraising efforts towards arranging the end of season dance to double-up as a fundraising event for Owen and his family, to take some strain off them during this hard time.”

However, Owen died unexpectedly just weeks before the event took place.

Rab added: “We had no intention of stopping our fundraising efforts there.

“After hearing how ECHC had cared for Owen and his family, we turned our attention to raising money for the charity.

“Raith Rovers over 35s team, with the support of East Fife FC, helped us raise £3000 – they played us in a charity game at New Bayview with Paul McManus on their team.”

Rab added: “We won the game, with Owen’s dad David scoring the winning goal.

“Paul McManus donated his championship medal and James Milner sent us a signed shirt to be auctioned.

“The football club led the fundraising activity, and it wasn’t long before everyone we knew started joining in.

“We wanted to give back to the charity that had looked after our wee Owen, and made him feel comfortable in his final days.

“Owen was the sort of kid that never let anything hold him back. He was a great wee footballer – a real rough and ready player with a great thirst for the game.

“His shirt was number 20 and that’s a strip that we’ll never use again. The lads all wear his name and number on their sleeves, too – he’s part of our kit now.”

Owen’s mother, Cheryl Walton, said: “ECHC just went over and above with the level of care they gave us. They took care of all the little things, allowing us to spend as much time with our son as possible.

“Even with what Owen was up against, he still managed to put a smile on everyone’s face and make the nurses laugh.

“He put others first with acts of kindness that will never be forgotten, like when he made up a goody bag for another child that was also receiving treatment.

“No one expected Owen to pass so suddenly so it was a huge shock to the system. What stood out to us more than anything else was just how emotionally supportive every single member of staff at ECHC were.”