Former West Ham apprentice James Cooper and staff from OCL Rail roped in a few famous faces from the East London club to kindly donate £1,527 for Southend Hospital’s NHS diabetic wound management unit.
James, 35, now director for Leigh-based rail and construction company OCL rail threw a fundraising dinner at the Boatyard restaurant in Leigh Old Town attended by over 200 fans in October.
Guests included Hammers greats such as Eighties right-winger Mark Ward, defender Tony Gale,goalkeeper Phil Parkes and midfielder Alan Devonshire. Compering was ‘The Moose’ – Ian Abrahams from talkSPORT.
James decided to raise the cash in grateful thanks for the care his dad Jeff 64, who has type 2 diabetes,received at the unit and to raise money and awareness for the condition, which can cause extreme nerve damage and loss of circulation and, in advanced cases, amputation.
“My Dad had diabetes for years but he and we never knew,” he says. “He then suddenly lost 4 stone in weight over two years and it was only when he cut his foot and it didn’t heal that we realised something was wrong.”
Eventually Geoff was admitted to the unit, where surgeon Mike Salter managed to save the foot, and instead only amputated a section of the foot and two toes.
“The staff at the unit were absolutely brilliant – he’s still in plaster but but he’s getting there,” explains James . “He’s learning to control his diabetes, rather than let his diabetes control him, and he’s now living with it.”
Pictured here are Sue Hardy, director of nursing, wound management lead clinician Helen Sanderson, surgeon Mike Salter, Clare Carey front of house manager at the Boatyard, James Cooper managing Director of OCL Rail, general surgery consultant Mr James Brown, specialist nurse Nicky Stone and Viv Brailsford.