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Non-League supporter passes away after collapsing at North Greenford match

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North Greenford United’s Division One Central match against Bedford Town on Saturday 28 November was abandoned after a gentleman collapsed on the pathway in front of the covered standing area at the clubhouse end of North Greenford United’s Berkeley Fields ground shortly after kick off.

After his fall, the gentleman was immediately attended to by North Greenford’s Football Secretary and Physio Barbara Bivens, supported by committee member Richard Rooney and Bedford Town supporter Paul Reading, the father of one of the Eagles’ players. They did all they could to revive the gentleman, with Barbara making use of the club’s defibrillator, and continued to help the NHS paramedics who had responded promptly to the club’s emergency call.

In the circumstances, as was agreed by all at the ground, referee Nicholas Mackenzie had no alternative but to first suspend play and then to abandon the game. Eventually, at around 4.00pm with the paramedics still working hard to revive him, the gentleman was stretchered to the ambulance and taken to hospital. Sadly, despite the efforts of all concerned, it was later learned that he had passed away at Northwick Park hospital.

With the agreement of his family the gentleman can now be named. He was David Barnes, aged 62, who had lived his entire life in the Ealing area. He attended Walpole Grammar School and brought up his family in Pitshanger. He was currently living in Greenford and working for Vickers and Co, a Solicitors firm in West Ealing. David was a happily married family man who, in the words of his son Peter, ‘will leave behind our Mum, Lesley, two daughters, Rosie and Elaine, sons Tom and I, and grandchildren Amy, Zachary and Kayla’.

David was a keen supporter of local football, regularly attending games at Harrow Borough, Hanwell Town and other local clubs. As Peter explained ‘he enjoyed following non-league football and often said that he was at his happiest when he was part of the crowd of one of the clubs he would ‘ground-hop’ around. He would be gutted to learn that the match was abandoned on his behalf’.

According to Peter, David’s brother-in-law Michael Peters played for North Greenford many years ago and Michael’s elder brother Derek also played for local non-league clubs. In fact, both the Peters brothers were known to North Greenford Chairman John Bivens, who actually played with Derek in the 1970s for Ruislip Town and then Hanwell Town when the Geordies were managed by the club’s current Chairman Bob Fisher.

Peter has extended his heartfelt thanks to all involved in this incident, particularly to Barbara Bivens, Richard Rooney, Paul Reading and the NHS paramedics for the efforts they made to revive his father. He was also extremely grateful for the respect shown to his father by both sets of supporters.

Everyone associated with North Greenford and Bedford Town extend their sincere condolences to all of David’s family at this extremely sad time. May he rest in peace.

Source: www.southern-football-league.co.uk

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