Caring Canaries set to hold bucket collection for stillbirth charity Sands UK at ‘pay what you want game’ at Top Field

Top Field home of Hitchin Town FC

Top Field home of Hitchin Town FC - Credit: Archant

Kind-hearted Hitchin Town FC are set to show their generous side again this season during their home league match – as they are holding a collection for a national stillbirth and neonatal death charity during their ‘pay what you want game’ against Kings Langley tomorrow.

The club has been in the news this year after a player on their books with dual registration, Alfie Barker, mocked AFC Bournemouth’s Premier League footballer Harry Arter over his still-born daughter – prompting them to terminate his paperwork forthwith.

Barker then apologised calling it a moment of madness. But in a heartening gesture the Fishponds Road club – widely praised for their decision to sack Barker – decided to give the money they raise from bucket collections at their game to Sands, a charity which supports anyone affected by the death of a baby.

Club secretary Roy Izzard said: “After that media storm we are now working with the Herts FA to see if our experience can be used in a positive way to help other teams in the county should they face similar problems and we have agreed to share our experience.

“We hope as many people as possible come to our game, not just to support us in our bid for promotion but so we can raise as much money as possible for Sands, which is a very worthy charity.”

With Hitchin unbeaten at home this season and sitting handily in third place in the Southern League the club are hoping for a big crowd – which will hopefully boost the cash collected for Sands UK.

With Stevenage and Luton Town playing away the Fishponds Road-based outfit are looking to attract fans of other teams too. And for good measure England’s Six Nation’s clash with France doesn’t start until after the game at Top Field has finished.

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The caring Canaries are also in the process of arranging a friendly match between them and Codicote – the other team that held Barker’s registration.

Roy added: “I’ve spoken to the Codicote secretary and his experiences were no different to ours. Codicote suggested hosting a friendly against Hitchin in a game to also raise money for Sands. Our manager Mark Burke is in favour of this idea and it just needs a suitable date to be found.”

A spokesman for Sands told the Comet: “Thank you to Hitchin Town for their kind gesture.”

Alfie Barker, who has been banned this week by the FA from playing football until August told the Comet: “It’s great that Hitchin Town are holding a collection for Sands UK.”

If you have been affected by stillbirth there is a North Herts branch of Sands.

To find out more about it see their website at

In other news, Hitchin Town have been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2017 Comet Sports Awards in the Team Of the Year category.