Marvin Bartley does his bit to aid victims of Grenfell fire

Hibernian's Marvin Bartley is fundraising for the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster by raffling off sporting memorabilia. Picture: SNS
Hibernian's Marvin Bartley is fundraising for the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster by raffling off sporting memorabilia. Picture: SNS
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On the pitch, Marvin Bartley is never keen on giving too much away but off it he is determined to be far more charitable.

This afternoon the Hibernian midfielder will be focused on gaining three points against Aberdeen as he and his Easter Road team-mates seek to build on their recent performance against Celtic but as soon as the match is over his attention will revert back to trying to amass as much money as possible for a good cause.

The Englishman has gathered raffle and auction prizes for a fundraising initiative to help the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

“I watched it all on the news and a guy came on who had lost his house and one of his children. And it just made me think. It could have been any one of us in that position where you go to sleep thinking everything is ok and you wake up in the morning and your house has gone and you have lost a family member. It’s a very difficult situation,” said Bartley. “I know someone, through a friend, who actually lived there. They’ve been relocated, not very close to where they were. Families have been uprooted, kids have had to move schools, it has been a pretty sad state of affairs.

“I like to do stuff for charity anyway so I thought if I could help in any way I would and a lot of my friends in sport have helped me by signing stuff.

“It’s not too far away from where I am from, it’s only an hour and a half [from Reading]. It could have been people I know, it could have been members of my family.”

Bartley says the way sports people have rallied round has been positive. “It definitely makes me appreciate what I do have and the privileged position I am in where I can help and draw on other people to help me,” he said. “So I think it’d be pretty selfish if I didn’t try to help.”

As well as Hibs team-mates, others have stepped up. “Harry Arter at Bournemouth has helped me, Charlie Austin, AP McCoy, Kevin Long and Sam Vokes at Burnley,” said Bartley.

“Brandon Barker got me a signed Manchester City shirt and Anthony Joshua has signed a few pairs of gloves.

“Even people up here have been moved by it because it could happen to anyone. You think you’re in a safe building and then something like that happens. It beggars belief.

“I hope none of us are ever in the situation those people are in at this moment because their lives will never be the same. Whatever I can raise will probably be for children and I’ll try to go down as close to Christmas as possible. At that time of year people should be happy and this will be the first Christmas since it happened, so I’ll try and help.”

But, while he is impressed by the way everyone has rallied around, Bartley does not want the generosity to extend to the way the team play in matches. They face a tough few fixtures, following up today’s match against Derek McInnes’ men, with a League Cup semi-final against holders Celtic next weekend and then the first capital derby of the season a few days later. “Celtic are the best team in the country and I don’t think I’m being disrespectful to say no-one is as good as them. But Aberdeen are a good side,” Bartley added. “We played them in the Scottish Cup semi-final last season and we saw how good they were as a team. It will be a really tough test for us and we will have to be at our best. We are the new boys in the league, whereas they have been there, done that and currently sit second in the league.”

lMartin Boyle’s top from Lewis Stevenson’s testimonial is the first raffle prize. Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/marvin-bartley-grenfell-tower to donate a minimum of £5 by Sunday night to be entered into the draw.