This year’s Charity Partner for the WorldNet and BigTamVets tournaments is Debra.
We have chosen this charity in memory of Freddie Fincham, the son of Pete Fincham who has represented Watford at WorldNet since 1997. The IFA Team of the Year trophy is named after Pete, and is awarded to the team deemed to be the best team to play against in terms of sportsmanship and playing in the spirit intended by the IFA.
All car park donations this weekend will be going towards Debra. We encourage all participants to send additional donations using the PayPal link below, if they can.
Here is Freddie’s story, told by Pete..
Right at the start of 2021, my dear son Freddie left us. He was just 14 and known to many of you gathered here in Nottingham on this joyous weekend. Freddie’s first Worldnet was in 2007, the old Leeds weekender aged just 8 months old. Within a few years of savoring the excitement of Boddington Hall and a weekend at The Village Hotel, he was already begging to get a run out – and some of those WIFC Sunday morning performances could not have been any worse had a diminutive 2-year-old got a game.
Freddie finally made his WIFC debut when, aged 7, he had his first ‘official’ run out for the team at the end of a match with our old friends from Southampton. But his considerable health issues soon meant that despite a glittering 2-year season career in goal for a local Sunday team, he would have to suspend his endeavors until a much-needed heart transplant was forthcoming.
When that operation finally came, the cruelest of luck robbed the world’s football pitches of my boy’s skills and a society of one of the funniest, kindest, most personable kids possible. Freddie now watches from Hornet Heaven, no doubt taking the chance to pass judgement on the game with Graham Taylor, Simon Humber & Big Tam (both stalwarts of this parish) and the generations of family who once passed the torch down, setting each subsequent generation onto the path of watching their teams.
The charity Debra supported Freddie throughout his life. They continue to support us. And on behalf of them, I thank you for your support at this peculiar time across the world. Without the charity, there would be no funding for the staggeringly progressive research into curing Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB to the rest of us). Without the charity, there would have been no provision of certain specific medical support he needed, as he and his sister Grace struggled through life with this debilitating condition. From providing breakthrough dressings for wounds, to special sheets that are kinder to the skin of the butterfly children, the charity came through for us all. And countless others.
What the illness couldn’t do was take the memories. The ones of Freddie charming everyone he ever met with his cheeky silliness, the smile that showed how happy he was amongst his people. His football family, who he always loved being around. Feeling like one of the lads with his old man, sharing the time in the journeys to chat about how he could not stand cheaters, before deciding he’d had enough football chat and switched his attention to Fortnite. There’s not a parent alive who hasn’t felt that pride at the point they know they’ve successfully passed the baton onto another generation.
I miss him so much. We all miss him so much. Remembering him fondly, whilst supporting the charity that helped him, is all we can now do. He understood what Worldnet is all about. The values of the community, the event, the craic. Not to mention how we would run into someone from another team anywhere in this fine country, and immediately know that they were one of our people. I wish I could be there with you this weekend. Moreover, I desperately wish we both were there. But as we can’t be, please take this as a note of thanks for your support and if you get a chance, raise a glass to Freddie Fincham.
DEBRA is the national charity that supports individuals and families affected by Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). For more information about Debra, please see their website www.debra.org.uk