A FORMER England footballer raised funds for a worthy cause during a speech at a football club.

Dave Thomas, brought up in West Auckland, talked about his life at Bishop Auckland FC's Heritage Park, and in the process raised a total of £1,300 for Guide Dogs for the Blind. He discussed his professional football career playing for England, Burnley, QPR, Wolves and Everton, how his life changed following the loss of part of his sight, and the two-year wait for his guide dog Hannah.

Steve Coulthard, Bishop Auckland FC chairman, said: “It was a fantastic night with more than 90 people attending the talk, and we passed a bucket round for donations with lots of people putting £10 and £20s in after Dave’s very emotional talk.

“The respect for Dave on the night was tremendous and he is a truly amazing man. I personally think it’s an absolutely fantastic charity, it takes over two years to train a guide dog and the total cost of a guide dog is nearly £55,000 for its working life.

“If we get more guide dogs available hopefully there won’t be as long a waiting list for them.

“With a special thank you to Graham Sheldon from Etheringtons BA, who hosted and was the compere.”

Mr Thomas’ book is available at Graham Sheldon’s Etheringtons newsagents, or by contacting BAFC shop.

To find out more about the charity, or to donate to the cause, visit guidedogs.org.uk

The event took place prior to social distancing restrictions.