Hospice charity match in Jack’s memory by Sacred Heart FC

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A CHARITY match was held by Sacred Heart Football Club on Killinarden Hill on Sunday to raise funds for Our Lady’s Hospice.

The match also commemorated the first anniversary of the passing of John ‘Jack’ Fitzpatrick, who was cared for in Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross in his final months.

Sacret Heart V Melruains 03 1

The two teams that participated in the match

Jack’s son, Robert Fitzpatrick, a member of the Sacred Heart FC committee, has been a manager in the club for the past 11 years.

Robert organised the event, which saw  past players represent the Sacred Heart FC side against his son’s team, St Maelruan’s Football Club.

Robert decided to hold the event to mark the one-year anniversary of his father’s death, and to raise funds for the hospice that looked after his dad. At the time of going to print, €300 had been raised for the hospice and more donations were coming in.

Jack passed away in August last year aged 93, after being in the hospice with dementia since February 2018 and battling pneumonia in his final days. Robert was moved by the care the staff gave him and his family.

“I was horrified that we had to put him into the hospice,” Robert told The Echo, “but when I saw the diligence, care . . . and the things the staff did for my father, my attitude changed.

“I saw how dedicated and helpful they were – even after he died, they kept calling us. It was unreal.

“Everyone there – down to the cleaners and the tea lady – all had an attitude of love and care.”

Robert held the charity match as a way of showing his gratitude for the staff in Our Lady’s, and the event was a fun occasion for all of the participants.

“We had a great crowd, and the Sacred Heart team were all past players of mine who came back for the match.

Jack Fitzpatrick 1

John ‘Jack’ Fitzpatrick

“My mother hasn’t really socialised since my father died, so it was great for her to get out and socialise, and talk to the parents of past players she knows.”

The event was a celebratory occasion, where the home team emerged as victors against St Maelruan’s, with a final score of 6-3.

Raising awareness of dementia was also at the forefront of Robert’s mind when he was organising the event. He said: “Dementia destroys people’s lives, and the person you’ve lived with won’t be the same person again.”

When remembering his father, Robert said: “He was a very kind, loving man and he was very jolly. He’d make anybody laugh and he’d make a joke out of anything. He loved his grandkids, and we’re all devastated.”

He added: “I wanted to honour my father, because he was a great father, and I thought this would be the right way to do it.”

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