Married couple Vicki and Dan Willis have been bowled over by the success of their cricket fundraiser in aid of Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

Vicki and Dan both lost their fathers to sepsis- Fred Clark in September last year, aged 65 and Mick Willis in March 2018, aged 62. 

To say thank you for Fred’s care at the Northern General and Royal Hallamshire Hospitals, the duo hosted The Fred Clark Charity Day which was arranged by Anston Cricket Club. 

Photo: A cricket day was held as a tribute to Fred Clark. 

As part of the event, big Unitedites Vicky and her brother, James, were pleased when Sheffield United FC Manager Chris Wilder attended to play cricket in one of the opposing teams.

"I'd not heard of sepsis and I wasn’t aware of its seriousness." 

Vicki said: “My dad, Fred was diagnosed with bladder cancer in June last year. Unfortunately he suffered a number of setbacks on his road to recovery, one of which was pneumonia which manifested into sepsis. As his kidneys weren't functioning properly, the sepsis rapidly progressed and he passed away soon after.

“Mick, who was treated in Bradford, also had underlying health problems before being diagnosed with the condition. They were both very ill men who were facing a big battle but they were both treated well and were made as comfortable as possible.

 “I'd not really heard of sepsis and I wasn’t aware of its seriousness. Both my dad and Mick deteriorated quickly as they had both been poorly, which meant their fight was harder. 

“The last year has been draining, leading to some dark times for everyone involved. There were several similarities between our respective dads illnesses, most of them bad but the one good thing was the care and treatment they both received from the NHS. 

“For my dad who was treated in Sheffield, he appreciated both doctors and nurses being able to laugh and joke with him, which made him feel human, especially when he felt so unwell. 

“They were so empathetic and above all, honest. They told us at every step of the way what they were doing and giving us time after he passed for us to come to terms with what had happened. 

“Emotionally, it has been the toughest year we've ever had to deal with. To watch one parent lose their fight is bad enough, but to have two such a short space of time is heartbreaking. 

My dad would have loved nothing more than an entire day dedicated to cricket with the food and drinks on tap! 

Photo - Fred's son, James with Chris Wilder and Vicki

“Arranging this cricket fundraiser has helped when we are having a bad day, as well as having each other and our families. 

“My dad was a keen cricketer. In his youth, he was an opening bowler and played for Elsecar & Anston Cricket Club amongst others throughout his career. As he got older, it would always be his last season until he took up umpiring which he thoroughly enjoyed. 

“Although deep down, it didn't replace the excitement of being involved in a cricket match himself, being an umpire was the next best thing. 

“We've been extremely grateful to everyone who has helped us organise the charity day for my Dad. He would love nothing more than an entire day dedicated to cricket with the food and drinks on tap!” 

To donate funds to enhance the care of local patients in Sheffield’s adult hospitals click here.