Norfolk community rally to support injured football player
Heacham Football Club players and the wider football community have rallied round Ben Oliver after he suffered a horrific double break in his left leg.
The youngster, who works as a self-employed roofer and cladder, faces more than four months off work and an even longer spell on the sidelines of the football field after fracturing his tibia and fibula during the club’s 4-3 Offside Trust Premier Cup victory over Mundford on Saturday.
In an effort to support Ben and his family financially, Heacham have launched a fundraiser, which has already raised more than £2,400 since its launch on Sunday.
Oliver, who is hoping to return to his North Lynn home by Thursday, has had a metal rod inserted through his bone marrow from his knee down to his ankle which has had to be pinned.
Heacham manager David Griggs said: “We’ve had so many donations already and it’s still coming in, people have been so generous.
“We felt it was important to do something to make sure that Ben has some kind of security and support during what is going to be a very difficult time for his family and him.
“It will take a lot of pressure and worry off of his shoulders knowing that he’s got this money to fall back on.
“I’ve been playing and involved with football since the age of 12 and I’ve never known an injury as bad as this.
“I can’t even begin to imagine the pain he was in, but he certainly didn’t show it after he was carried from the field.”
Assistant Magpies boss Ross McNeil added: “Ben is one of those lads that never makes a fuss and always gives 100 per cent for the team.
“He is a top quality player, but more importantly, he’s just a great lad who is a pleasure to coach and have in the squad.
“Some of his performances for the club have been monumental, especially, in the really tough away games, when you learn most about your squad.
“To see him still sitting in a hospital bed, after leaving his house for football, on Saturday lunchtime, is tough to process for Ben, his family and all the lads.”
“One thing we can guarantee is our full support, through these tough times Ben will be going through.
"That’s what Heacham FC is all about. Being there for each other and showing real support in tough times.
“I am proud of the work David and the club have already done, but it’s just the beginning, for me.
“Ben can’t work for more than four months and we need to try support him in a variety of ways, through this period.”
McNeil has been touched by the support of the footballing community in Norfolk as a whole.
“Every little act of kindness, empathy and emotional support will make a difference and it’s been really heart warming to have messages from clubs across Norfolk wishing Ben well and being so kind,” he said.
“One foundation, which has asked to remain private, has already donated their bucket collection, from Saturday’s game.
"That’s how kind and powerful the football family are.
“We are fully committed to supporting Ben as that’s what a football club does. It comes even closer together to help a great lad, through a really challenging time.”
There are plans for a charity football match later in the summer involving Heacham and players from Oliver’s former clubs AFC Lynn and Chilvers.
In the meantime, anyone who would like to donate to the Ben Oliver fund can do so by sending money to the following account which has been created by the club.
The details are: Heacham FC, sort-code 20-46-65, account 23658929, ref Ben Oliver.