Charity champ enlists TV comic and Reds legend

FUNDRAISING STARS -- Dave Martin (centre) and guide dog Dale, pictured with daughter and son-in-law, Sandra and Gary Edwards (PHOTO AND STORY BY: Peter Jordan).
FUNDRAISING STARS -- Dave Martin (centre) and guide dog Dale, pictured with daughter and son-in-law, Sandra and Gary Edwards (PHOTO AND STORY BY: Peter Jordan).

A CHARITY champion from Bulwell — backed by his guide dog, Dale, and devoted daughter and son-in-law, who live in Hucknall — is on a mission to back worthy causes in memory of his late wife, who died of cancer.

Now his latest initiative is a fundraising night featuring comedian Alistair McGowan and Nottingham Forest legend John McGovern.

For more than six decades, Dave (80), of John Wright Close, has championed the charity Guide Dogs For The Blind and other organisations, raising thousands of pounds in the process.

When Dave’s devoted wife, Mavis, died from throat cancer in June, devastated Dave, who became partially sighted after suffering a retinal bleed in 2000, vowed to honour her memory by raising £2,500 towards the training of a guide dog, who would be called Mavis.

Dave’s own plight became worse in 2004 when his sight became badly impaired and he was duly registered blind. Four years later he was given a lifeline by way of his ‘best friend’, Dale.

Despite his severe handicap, Dave has continued his tremendous charity work, backed by daughter Sandra and son-in-law Gary. He says the pair “have been fantastic”.

“When Mavis passed away just a few months ago, I expressed my desire to raise money for a guide dog as a personal tribute to a wonderful lady who I married 57 years ago,” said Dave.

“Sandra and Gary started the ball rolling and amazingly we raised the required £2,5000. But we need to match that amount in order to get the guide-dog puppy named.”

Never one to let the dust settle, Dave has been in negotiations with McGovern, who captained the Reds to European Cup glory, and TV’s McGowan, who have agreed to be part of a grand fundraising event.

This will take place at the Queen’s Head at Watnall a week tomorrow (Saturday October 20) when football memorabilia will be auctioned off for the cause.

McGovern will be sharing his memories of the Forest days under Brian Clough, while McGowan will put on a comedy show.

“I’m sure we are in for a great night of entertainment and I would like to thank John and Amanda Males, licensees at the pub, who have shown tremendous support,” said Dave.

The former electrical engineer is no stranger to fundraising challenges. He was the fundraising chairman of the Nottingham City Lions Club and very recently has been installed as a leading fundraising ambassador with Guide Dogs for the Blind.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped me to raise funds for this wonderful cause,” said Dave. “My life has been enriched by the generosity of so many people, but with the support of my family I would never have been able to do what I do — they are the jewels in my crown.”