Footballers score their charity hat trick!

A team of former Garstang FC players have scored a very special hat trick – completing the National Three Peaks in 23 hours, 27 minutes to raise £7,650.75 for Lancashire Teaching Hospital Charity’s Children’s Fund.

Centre half and former reserve team co-manager Joe Miller, (34), had the idea of tackling consecutive climbs of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon within a 24 hour period – a feat only accomplished by around just 40 per cent of all those who try the challenge – to thank doctors and nurses on the Royal Preston Hospital’s Children’s Ward, who saved the life of his one-year-old daughter Isobel.

Joe was joined by his ex Riverside team mates Andrew Ireland, Andrew Taylor, Carlo Matichecchia, Joe Crook, Michael Shepherd, Matthew Johnston and David Porter as well as father-in-law Dave Richardson. Joe’s dad Fred Miller, step father-in-law Karl Coulter and Phil Hall shared the driving and support in between.

Joe said: “It was a surreal experience that included a mixture of endurance and team work, which helped us beat the clock to raise some amazing funds for a very important charity.

“We’re all good, tired bodies but all okay. Unfortunately, Dave, my father in law, didn’t quite manage it as his legs gave up on him up Scafell. But for us all as a team, including our three drivers, there’s a great sense of achievement and an even a greater sense of gratitude to everyone who supported us in donations and good wishes.”

Charity team fundraiser Lucy Clark said: “It really is a fantastic achievement by Joe and the lads to have conquered the National Three Peaks within 24 hours as it is something that few people manage. To have raised such a fabulous donation is also a major feat given the current economic climate. We are truly very grateful to everyone involved whether a climb team member, driver or donor.”

It was just over a year ago (April 2023) that Isobel, then aged just five-weeks-old, was  diagnosed with viral meningitis after being taken to the Royal Prest Hospital’s Children’s Ward by Joe, a joiner, and mum Emily, who are also parents to Georgina (four) and Louie (two).

Doctors there used X-ray, blood tests and a CT scan to make their diagnosis. At one point, Isobel stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated. Once they confirmed what was wrong, doctors put Isobel into an induced coma to transfer her by ambulance to the intensive care unit at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where she spent 10 days. Joe said: “Thankfully, Isobel has made a full recovery and is now thriving. She owes her life though to the doctors and nurses who first treated her in Preston.”

The Children’s Fund supports improvements to children’s in and outpatients at the Royal Preston Hospital and also, at all other children’s facilities managed by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It funds upgrades to medical devices that go beyond usual NHS resources and distraction tools such as ceiling panels and play equipment. It also paid for the 2023 refurbishment of the Children’s Ward parents’ room.