Lifesaving defibrillators to be legacy to grassroots football legend
EVERY local authority football pavilion across Liverpool now has a
life-saving defibrillator installed – as a legacy to a grassroots football
Cantwell, 69, died in February 2018 while watching his son play football on the
Joe Stone playing fields in Fazakerley.
dad-of-two, from Walton, began managing amateur football teams alongside his
wife Sandra – who was secretary – when his son Phil was eight years old and
playing for St Aidan’s.
the years he worked with a number of amateur Sunday league clubs from under-7s
to open age – latterly St Theresa’s in Norris Green, where he was assistant
his death, his widow Sandra and son Phil approached the city council to suggest
that defibrillators should be installed at each pavilion, in addition to first
family held a series of fundraising events, including taking part in the Three
Peaks challenge and charity football matches, raising £6,000 to purchase seven
defibrillators, which have been added to seven others owned by the city council
and junior football leagues.
city council has committed to keeping the 14 units maintained and Liverpool
County FA is looking to deliver training for referees using some of the money
To mark the installation of the defibrillator at the new £1 million Carr Lane East playing fields in Norris Green, a special under 7s football match is taking place on Thursday 19 September, in which John’s grandson will play, and his family will be present.
Mayor and Cabinet member for sport, Councillor Wendy Simon said: “This is a great example of
something positive coming from the loss of a life, and we are grateful to
John’s family for their help in raising funds to purchase the defibrillators.
issue of undiagnosed heart conditions is becoming more common and given that
football is a high intensity game, it is right that we should make sure there
is one in every single pavilion to be used in an emergency, whether for one of
the players, coaching staff or spectators.
of people use our sports pitches every single year and there is no doubt that
one of these could well save a life in the very near future.”
Cantwell’s son, Phil Cantwell, said: “There can be hundreds of amateur football players of a weekend on
these pitches and by having a defibrillator on site a life could be saved.
devoted his life to the amateur football game – it was his world and he was a
dad to hundreds of lads in the grassroots game.
had a huge reaction to his death because so many people knew and loved him,
which helped us raise the money to pay for the defibrillators.
a family we believe that this is a really fitting legacy for him.”
Smith from Liverpool County FA said: “John Cantwell was a highly respected member of the local
grassroots football community and volunteered his time to provide opportunities
for both adults and children to play football.
allocation of defibrillators in all Liverpool City Council football pavilions
should be widely applauded and is something we will be looking to replicate in
part of the funding raised by the Cantwell family, Liverpool County FA have
committed to offering free FA Emergency Aid Courses for local referees.”