Select Group 2 referee Leigh Doughty to join 3 Peak Challenge for Premier League ref Gary Willard
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A TOP referee from Lancashire is set to show his support for a former Premier League referee after he was diagnosed with blood cancer.
Preston’s Leigh Doughty, the younger brother of former Blackpool and Bamber Bridge defender Phil Doughty, is part of the Select Group 2 referees standing in solidarity with Gary Willard after he was diagnosed with Leukaemia.
Gary Willard is a hugely-popular figure and a former FIFA, Premier League and EFL referee.
Leigh, a former PE teacher, met Gary when he left Carr Hill High school in Kirkham to pursue a career with Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).
Leigh oversees Chapionship matches just one step from the biggest league in the world.
This summer he will be part of a group of 25 to embark on the ‘3 Peaks Challenge’ climbing to the summit of the highest mountain peaks in Scotland, England and Wales in 24 hours.
The gruelling challenge will begin in the early hours of Wednesday, June 7 in Scotland and finish the following day in Wales.
James Linington, speaking on behalf of Select Group said: “Since 2016 when Select Group 2 was formed, we have supported local and national charities every year as we understand and recognise the important work they do day-in, day-out.
“One of our coaches, Gary Willard, has been crucial to our individual and group successes, and we were all devastated to hear recently that Gary had been diagnosed with Leukaemia.
“We wanted to show our solidarity and support for him so it was decided we would take part in a group fundraising event, all in aid of Leukaemia Care.
“This momentous challenge will most definitely be a real test of character for the group and we will need to rely on our resolve and resilience to complete this once in a lifetime opportunity for such a good cause.
“All of us are extremely excited for the challenge and, more importantly, excited at the prospect of raising much needed funds for a great charity in Leukaemia Care.”
Gary Willard said: “When I heard that members of the Select Group 2 referee team and support staff had decided to take on the 3 Peaks Challenge I was both delighted and grateful to them all.
“Leukaemia Care is a fantastic charity, supporting those diagnosed with the disease along with their families. I would like to wish everyone taking part the best of luck and to thank them for being such a great bunch of friends and for all their ongoing support.”
Zack Pemberton-Whiteley, Leukaemia Care’s CEO said: “We’re super excited that the Select Group 2 referee team chose Leukaemia Care for this challenge.
“We’re dedicated to supporting everyone affected by leukaemia across the UK and all funds raised from this challenge will go directly to providing much needed information, advice and support to patients and their families.”
So far the group have raised a massive £20,300. To sponsor the team visit their justgiving page.