Blackpool Supporters’ Trust is to stage an evening with Seasiders football hero Paul Stewart to aid the charity he has helped set up to develop safeguards against child sex abuse.
Blackpool resident Paul, 53, made over 200 league appearances for the Seasiders in the 1980s, going on to play for Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool and England in a glittering career.
But for more than 40 years the former midfielder harboured the terrible secret that over four years as a child he had been subjected to sexual abuse by the late coach/scout Frank Roper, experiences which drove him to drink, drugs and suicidal thoughts.
Having first spoken out publicly about his ordeal in November 2016 and then recounted his story in the hard-hitting autobiography Damaged, published last year, Paul has since set up the charitable organisation SAVE (Safeguarding and Victim Engagement) with three fellow abuse survivors.
Paul will discuss SAVE as well as his life and times at the BST event on Saturday June 30 at the No 4 pub on Newton Drive, starting at 7pm.
Tickets are priced £5 and include hotpot.
There will be no shortage of laughs – how could there be as Paul recalls his friendship with Paul Gascoigne from their Spurs days? – but this is sure to be an emotionally-charged evening and the nature of Paul’s story means the event is unsuitable for under-18s.
The evening is designed to raise awareness of and funds for SAVE, which aims to make safeguarding training available to help prevent children from suffering similar experiences in future.
The evening will also include a book-signing, raffle and memorabilia sale.
Tickets are available from the No4 on Layton Road, North West Discount Pet Foods on Burton Road,
Blackpool, or via BST at www.blackpoolsupporters trust.com or comunity@blackpool supporters trust.com
Donations to SAVE can be made online at www.saveassociation.com, where more detailed information about the organisation can be found.
Paul’s fellow founder members of SAVE are Ian Ackley, Derek Bell and David White, who were also victims of child sexual abuse in a football setting.
They seek to work alongside authorities and organisations to achieve the best results for children, vulnerable adults and survivors.