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Football icons’ warm tributes to broadcaster

David Oates

David Oates

Famous faces from throughout British sports broadcasting turned out to celebrate the life of a commentator who died suddenly last year.

More than 350 people packed into the sponsors lounge at Bloomfield Road to remember David Oates, the former BBC Radio Five Live journalist who was brought up in South Shore.

Guests at the David Oates Memorial Charity Ball included former Blackpool and England footballer Jimmy Armfield, the FA’s director of football development, Sir Trevor Brooking, Preston North End manager Simon Grayson and BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson.

David’s brother, Peter, said he had been overwhelmed by support for the event.

He added: “It’s great for everyone to make the effort. A lot of people have come from Ealing, where he lived in London with his family.

“We wanted to have the event at Bloomfield Road as he was a huge fan of the Seasiders, but I’m sure if we’d wanted to more than 400 people would have come.”

Lifelong Blackpool fan Mr Oates, 50, died on February 3, 2013 at Hammersmith Hospital after suffering heart failure a few days after being taken ill.

He covered three football World Cups, three Rugby League World Cups and two Commonwealth Games for the BBC.

The ball, which was compered by BBC Radio Five Live host Mark Chapman and Dave Woods, the BBC’s rugby league reporter, featured an auction with prizes including centre court seats at Wimbledon, a tour of the Williams Formula 1 team factory and signed football shirts.

David’s wife, Charlotte, said she hoped to raise around £10,000 at the evening, to be split between the Blackpool RNLI and the British Heart Foundation.

She added: “The response we have had from people to the event makes us very proud.

“The support has helped me and our daughters, Imogen and Kate.”

 

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