TWO pals inspired by the charity that helped them through the ‘worst time’ in their lives are gearing up to launch a football team for dads who have lost a child.
Sands United FC Solent will use amateur football to build a support network for grieving men in the Portsmouth area.
Fathers and male relatives affected by the death of a baby are invited to join the club in a bid to raise cash and awareness for the stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands.
The good cause is backing the foundation of squads in its name across the country to urge dads who have lost children to have fun and seek support from other grieving men.
Friends Nick Lang and Peter Moseley are leading the call for a Sands team spanning the Solent area, having both experienced the tragedy of losing babies of their own.
‘Historically, men have not been very good at talking about these types of things and tend to keep themselves to themselves,’ said Mr Lang, 38, from Waterlooville.
‘This is an opportunity to unite men in that horrible situation with like-minded others who understand what they’re going through, to have a laugh and discuss these these things.
‘This is much bigger than football, but we know it’s a great outlet – especially for men.’
Despite knowing her heart had stopped in the womb, Mr Lang’s partner was forced to deliver their baby daughter, Evalyn, at Queen Alexandra Hospital on November 8, 2016.
Sadly Mr Moseley’s story is not dissimilar, with his wife Sorrel having to deliver their baby boy, Arthur, on January 31, 2018 following a late miscarriage after just 21 weeks.
‘If this team started last year, it would have been really useful support for me and I have no doubt it will continue to be, because this is something that doesn’t go away,’ the 31-year-old from Fareham said.
‘There will be no pressure for players to open up or share, or to win week-in week-out, but the team will allow them to exercise their grief in a positive way.’
David Paterson from Lee-on-the-Solent lost his daughter Annabelle after 17 weeks on July 11, 2015 and is ‘really excited’ to join the team.
He said: ‘I just want a nice atmosphere where we can have a good day with some guys that will hopefully become lifelong friends.
‘We can end up getting people help and support when they need it, while also sharing our experiences and what we’ve found helps.’
The first meet-up for Sands United FC Solent will take place at the Sir Alec Rose Wetherspoon, at Port Solent, between 6.30pm and 8pm on Wednesday, March 27 and anyone who would like to join the team is invited to attend.
The squad is still in need of a place to train and play its home games and is calling for support from local venues.
Any businesses or organisations who would like to support the team, or anyone who would like more information, can email Mr Lang on email@example.com
To learn more, visit Sands United FC Solent’s Facebook page, at tinyurl.com/y4u8j7tg