Ex-Chesterfield FC footballer Jamie Hewitt turns delivery driver to score funds for Ashgate Hospice
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The former defender racked up more than 500 appearances with the Spireites over a 17-year career and, after retiring from playing in 2002, stayed on as the club’s physiotherapist.
Jamie said: “When I finished playing football at 34, I went into the medical side of things for the first team and youth sides and did that for 12 or 13 years. That came to an end because, in football, you get different managers and so on, so I left.
For the past six years Jamie has been a van driver for the hospice charity’s furniture store in Hasland. He said: “I saw the hospice opportunity come up and I’m only around the corner; Ashgate has been in Chesterfield for years and it was a good cause so I went for it.
"It’s nice to meet people who support the hospice which 99 per cent of our callouts are – you get to see the generosity of people and it’s really fulfilling.”
During his footballing career, Jamie’s looping header in the 119th minute of the 1997 FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford secured a replay against opponents Middlesborough for the Spireites.
They would go on to lose the follow-up fixture 3-0 but the memory of that game and equaliser will forever live on in his and the hearts of thousands of Chesterfield fans.
It’s one topic of conversation that regularly comes up with football-loving hospice supporters when – to their surprise – their Spireites hero turns up on their doorstep. Jamie said: “We often meet people who recognise me from my Chesterfield days – it’s always friendly and it’s a good thing Chesterfield are doing a bit better now.
“When we weren’t winning so much, they’d tell me I wish you were playing and I’d respond “well you didn’t say that when I was!”
“It’s nice to talk to people about football and Chesterfield and it’s all good if it helps promote the hospice.”
Jamie says doing his bit to give back to the people of Chesterfield and beyond is rewarding. “I’ve lived in Chesterfield all my life and the hospice means a lot to the people we speak to. Doing your bit for the charity gives you a good feeling.”
As part of the furniture delivery team, Jamie collects and delivers to and from the hospice’s supporters. These daily missions help the hospice raise the £9 million it needs every year to fund palliative and end of life care across North Derbyshire.
Jamie said: “We visited the hospice recently and the ward manager Karen showed us around the Inpatient Unit – you get to see what the money we’ve helped raise has funded and what a difference it makes.
“There’s so many people we meet that know someone who has been cared for by Ashgate and they all want to do their bit to support it and donate. It’s probably the most thought=of charity in North Derbyshire and we’re very lucky to have it.”
Check out the Ashgate Hospice website for vacancies and find out more about joining the charity’s ever-growing team.