Former Arsenal striker John Hartson heads support at fundraiser
A FORMER Arsenal striker joined the list of professional footballers who have visited Grimsby to support a charity which is the legacy of a former Town player.
Ex-Welsh international John Hartson and comedian Mick Miller visited the Humber Royal Hotel for the Artie White Foundation's 16th annual sports dinner, which raised more than £2,000 for local causes.
Over the years, the foundation – established by former Grimsby Town player Artie White – has raised more than £450,000 to date.
Famous footballers, including Sir Bobby Charlton and Jeff Hurst, have attended the charity's dinners in the past.
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It is only the second time Hartson has visited the town, the first being a Grimsby v Luton fixture at Blundell Park in 1993, when he was just 19 and playing for Luton.
Incredibly, his second visit came on the night of another Grimsby v Luton fixture at Blundell Park, which ended 4-1 for the home side.
"It is incredible that the last time I was here, I was young striker with lots of orange hair playing for Luton at the beginning of my career," he said.
"Now, my football career is over and I am doing an after-dinner speech in Grimsby as the two sides meet again."
Since his first visit in 1993, Hartson has played for Arsenal, West Ham, Celtic and famously beat testicular cancer in 2009 after it was widely reported that he was unlikely to recover from the disease.
He said: "I consider myself blessed to have beaten the disease and be in the position now where I can give something back. This is a great event for a fantastic cause and I am just glad that I can be a part of it.
"I talk openly and candidly about my struggle with cancer because I have been told in the past that my story has helped inspire others. I don't shy away from my experience and I'm not afraid to talk about it."
Almost 250 tickets were sold for the dinner.
Chairman Barry Meadows said: "Despite everything that's running against us, it's not been a bad year for the charity which shows just how well supported we are."
Former Grimsby player and Artie White fundraiser Dave Boylen said: "It's a great turn-out and shows we are as strongly supported now as we always have been. We've also got lots of very dedicated young people – one of which arranged John Hartson's appearance – so it looks like the charity has a bright future, too."
Find out more
For more information or enquiries about the Artie White Foundation, visit www.artiewhitefoundation.co.uk
To find out more about Mr Hartson's charity, visit www.thejohnhartsonfoundation.com