Scots football fan to auction off precious medals to help stroke survivors as charity hit by £500k -a-month losses through Covid-19 restrictions

A Scots football fan will auction off some of his precious medal collection to raise cash for stroke survivors, as a leading charity continues to be hit with £500,000 a month losses due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Billy Brown, 69, from Ardrossan in North Ayrshire, was moved by local stroke survivor Derek Stewart's appeal to help Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

The 46-year-old, from nearby Saltcoats, wants people to help those at the charity who have helped him through his recovery from a massive stroke three years ago which left him unable to speak and walk.

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His children also had to move out to be looked after by their grandparents.

Billy Brown (top left) is auctioning off his rare medals to help stroke survivors like Derek Stewart (right) with their recoveries.

Billy's daughter, Alison Lee, works for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and has been supporting Derek to rebuild his life since 2017. His speech has improved, he can talk again, he can write using his left hand and his walking is getting better each day.

Billy will now part with eight of his rare medals, dated between 1915-1968, to be auctioned at McTear's Gallery in Glasgow on August 28.

Derek said: “I am so grateful to Billy for doing that.

"Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s support through Allison has been incredible. I am still recovering from my stroke and I’m hoping one day I will be well enough for my children Leo and Demi to come home with me so we can live together again.

“It can be hard sometimes, especially in lockdown, but with Allison’s help I’m staying positive and feeling good about the future."

Football medals

One piece in Billy’s collection is an Ayrshire Junior Football Association Medal which was awarded to Stevenston Thistle in 1917, the first year of their existence. The newly formed team beat Burnfoothill Primrose 1-0 to lift the Ayrshire Junior Cup at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock. This medal is believed to have been given to John Muir, who is thought not to have been present at the game as a result of the ongoing World War I.

Other medals donated by Billy include a Liverpool Wednesday Cup gold medal dated 1915, and a Scottish Churches Football Association Scottish Cup Winners silver medal, dated 1936-37.

Since the appeal, Derek and Billy have met and often bump into each other in the street and stop to chat about their shared passion, Scottish football.

Billy lives with his wife, Beth, has three grown up children and three grandchildren and has been collecting football medals for many years.

He has followed football his whole life, playing in his younger days and laterly he volunteered at his local football ground, Ardrossan Winton Rovers.

His love of the game led him to start his collection of football medals many years ago and after seeing Derek’s appeal he wanted to give something back to the charity. The only way he felt he could do this was to sell some of his medals.

Billy said: "I thought that selling off some of my medal collection might be a nice touch to help with his appeal.

“I’m so proud of Allison and the work that she does and when you see the impact that her help and support has made to Derek’s life, it made me want to help. I’m not sure how much money my medals will raise but I know that anything I can raise will make sure that others get the help that they need.”

The combined estimated value of the eight medals is around £1,800.

Hannah Murphy, valuer and auctioneer from McTear's, said the medals tell a fascinating story of English and Scottish football over a 50 year period and she expects there to be "considerable interest" when they go under the hammer at their sporting trophies auction later this month.

‘Wonderful gesture’

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland chief executive, Jane-Claire Judson, described the donation as a "wonderful gesture" from Billy to raise funds for the charity.

She said: "Heart-warming gestures like this highlight the wonderful support that we have from people across our Scottish communities.

"The hard work, dedication and support that our amazing staff and volunteers give people through our Hospital to Home service means so much to people and their families and I think the connection between Derek and Allison is a wonderful example of this."

She also thanked McTear's for their support, adding: "Right now, more people than ever need our help and we want to make sure that we are still here to support them now and in the future."

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