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Charity happy with draw as Arsenal favourites sign up

17 May, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams signs one of the sketches

FORMER Arsenal players signed sketches and artwork to raise more than £2,000 for a charity set up by former Gunners goalkeeper Bob Wilson after the death of his daughter from cancer.

The Willow Foundation provides “special days” for seriously ill people aged 16 to 40.

It was founded in memory of Mr Wilson’s daughter Anna, who died aged 31 in 1998 after suffering from cancer of the nerve sheath.

Artwork signed by former Arsenal players Lee Dixon, Frank McClintock and Tony Adams were sold at an auction at The Lamb pub in Holloway Road on Tuesday, compered by stand-up comedian and celebrity Gooner Alan Davies.

Mr Wilson, 77, who won the double with the club in 1971, said: “Having £2,000 donated to a charity like the Willow Foundation to me is just ‘Wow!’ – because it will pay for the cost of two special days.

“We have now arranged 16,000 special days for people, which is crazy. I am finding it hard to believe we are 20 years old. We set up the charity for our daughter and it began just in Hertfordshire but became a national charity within four years.”

Alan Davies and Ed Quigley at The Lamb

Arsenal fan Edward Quigley, who lives off Holloway Road and organised the event, said: “I was encouraged to do some sketches that might sell and help to raise money for Willow Foundation. The Arsenal link prompted me to contact Lee Dixon and Tony Adams, both of whom have been supportive of previous charity fundraising I’ve done, and they agreed to sign the sketches of them, along with Ian Wright and Frank McClintock.”

Mr Quigley is running the Hackney Half Marathon this Sunday to raise money for the Willow Foundation in memory of his friend Dave Seagar’s son Liam, who died in a road accident aged 24.

Mr Quigley said: “I know Dave through Arsenal. He’s a fellow Arsenal supporter. We met back in 2016. When the news broke that Liam died on New Year’s Day, it was a tragic loss.”

Mr Wilson, who couldn’t make it to the event because his wife was having a knee operation, said: “For Ed to come along and suddenly say he wants to help is great. I think Liam would have been amazed that his memory lives on.”

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