Charity football team raises £7,800 for appeal at local hospital

Sands United FC Doncaster, a local charity football team, have raised £7,800 for the Serenity Appeal at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH).

The donation will support the creation of a bereavement room, entitled ‘The Serenity Suite’, at Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI), the purchasing of a new scanning machine for Bassetlaw Hospital’s Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU), as well as the renovation of counselling rooms both at DRI and Bassetlaw.

Sands United FC have just under 50 members who have all been affected by baby loss, and they wanted to help ensure that their local hospital has the facilities to best support people who may be going through what they, or their close friends, experienced.

John Drury, the founder of Sands United FC Doncaster, commented on why he thought this appeal was so important. He said: “I lost my son in Leeds, and we witnessed first-hand the facilities that they had in place there. We then had our daughter in Doncaster 14 months later and when we were in the hospital having our sessions, we never once saw anything like a bereavement suite. We always wondered if something like this actually existed at DRI.

“As soon as we found out that there was not, we thought this is massive. If we did not have that in Leeds, I can imagine that our grieving would have got off to a very bad start. This project is going to affect a lot more people than just us in the team, it will affect everyone in the future, so we want to do what we can to support in its creation.”

The team managed to raise £7,800 by organising three separate fundraising events.

The first of these, which took place in early September, was called ‘The Yorkshire Football Club Walk’, and was a sponsored walk from Harrogate to Doncaster, with the participants visiting a variety of Yorkshire based football grounds on their way. They passed Elland Road in Leeds, The John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield, both Sheffield football grounds, and others before finishing at the Eco-Power Stadium in Doncaster. Three members of the team, Rob Campbell, Callum Jones-Bowman, and Marc Henson, set out on the 92-mile walk, and they were met by many of the team for the final leg of the journey between Sheffield and Doncaster.

Marc Henson spoke about why he took part in the walk and how he found it. He said: “Fortunately, I haven’t suffered loss, but I play for Sands United on behalf of one of my friends who has and can’t play at the minute. I thought this walk would be something good personally for me to give back, but also for him and the struggles that he has gone through.”

“Mentally and physically the walk was the hardest thing that I have ever done, but completing it was amazing. Yes it might have been painful for me, but it is nothing compared to what the people who play for Sands have gone through.”

The team also partook in a 24-hour sponsored walk around Lakeside in Doncaster, pushing an empty pushchair which had the names of babies who are no longer with us written upon it. This event, alongside the Yorkshire Football Club Walk and a fundraising night at the team’s local pub, raised £7,800 for the appeal.

The Serenity Appeal itself was launched by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital’s at the start of February, and has so far raised over £20,000. There are a number of ways that you can donate to the appeal, whether you want to make a one-off donation, take part in a sponsored event or create your own fundraising project – please head to for more details.

If you have questions or would like to request more information in regards to this appeal, or for any other charitable project at the Trust, please contact the Charity Team on Tel: 01302 644244, email: or head to