Ex-footballer’s wife in Rishton charity fundraisers

Margaret Harris and Julie Crisp

Margaret Harris and Julie Crisp

First published in News Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Hyndburn reporter

THE wife of a retired professional footballer and former Rishton pub landlord raised more than £1,000 for a dementia charity.

Sandy Harris, 79, who played alongside Sir Stanley Matthews for Blackpool in the 1950s before going on to run the Walmsley Arms, suffers from vascular dementia — the second most common form of the disease after Alzheimer’s.

His wife and carer, Margaret, also 79, held a raffle for prizes donated by local businesses, and also collected money for Dementia UK.

And along with her next door neighbour Julie Crisp, she organised an afternoon tea at St Peter and St Paul’s Church Hall in Blackburn Road.

Margaret also collected £170 from shoppers at her local shop, as well as selling raffle tickets.

She said: “Dementia is such a horrible disease. I wanted to do something for the charity because it isn’t funded enough. Because my husband has it, it spurred me on.”

Mrs Crisp, 46, said: “Sandy was diagnosed two and a half years ago. For the first year, not much changed, but in the last 18 months it has not been nice.

“Margaret is the carer and does not get much help, but she wanted to try and raise money or do something for the charity. I have helped her, but she certainly got her teeth into it and put all her heart in it to get such a fantastic result.

“Margaret and Sandy are like second parents to me. We are just on the same wave length.”

Local music teacher Alison Kendall played the piano in church while Margaret and Julie served more than three sittings of afternoon tea to people who gave their support.

Julie’s husband, Peter, worked in the kitchen while their 10-year-old twins, William and Edward, manned a tombola and raffle.

Mr Harris, of Westwood Avenue, started his football career at 16 when he was signed for Blackpool after being spotted playing for the Scoon City Boys in Scotland.

He made his professional debut against Burnley in 1953 and in the same year scored the club’s equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Barcelona in a friendly held to celebrate the Seasiders’ famous FA Cup Wembley win over Bolton in a game that will always be remembered as “The Matthews Final”.

As understudy to Sir Stan he did not see much first team football but his career was cut short at the age of 26 when he was involved in a car crash while returning home to Scotland to visit his family in Dundee.

Comments (2)

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3:43pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Stone Island: says...

Well done Margaret. They are a lovely couple. The Walmsley was a great pub.
Well done Margaret. They are a lovely couple. The Walmsley was a great pub. Stone Island:
  • Score: 7

6:54am Sun 31 Aug 14

alan7554 says...

all the best to you both,i was a regular in the walmsley for many years,had my first legal pint in there,knew both sandy and his late wife joan very well, a gentelman and a bloody good landlord a football friendly pub i have not seen him for over 25 years but i hope he gets all the traetment and care he deserves. he once called me the best goalkeeper he had ever seen that made my day Best wishes to his wife,i don't know her but she is a diamond and a rock LOVE TO YOU BOTH
all the best to you both,i was a regular in the walmsley for many years,had my first legal pint in there,knew both sandy and his late wife joan very well, a gentelman and a bloody good landlord a football friendly pub i have not seen him for over 25 years but i hope he gets all the traetment and care he deserves. he once called me the best goalkeeper he had ever seen that made my day Best wishes to his wife,i don't know her but she is a diamond and a rock LOVE TO YOU BOTH alan7554
  • Score: 0
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