Kerri Whiteside

Remembering Dad (Cliffie) on his 60th Birthday

Fundraising for Free Kicks Foundation
raised of £1,000 target
by 67 supporters
In memory of Cliffie Whiteside
Free Kicks Foundation

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1121073
We raise money to give deserving children days at football


Anyone who knew Dad, knew that he loved football dearly. We can still remember the cheers and the tears when Chelsea would score. We can also remember his complete joy and excitement when every summer he would referee the Milk Cup youth football league in Portrush - I don’t know how he put up with all the schtick of being a referee, but he seemed to love every bit of it! When we all think of him now, I’d say more often than not, it’s with a referee kit on; his knobbly knees on show and a ridiculous sweat band on, with a big smile on his face.

Not long before he was suddenly taken away from us, almost 24 years ago, Dad happened to get the chance to meet the Chelsea Football Club manager, and he was over joyed! We might not understand his love of football (sorry!) but we can certainly appreciate how happy it made him. March 21st marks Dad/Cliffie’s 60th birthday and its a nice opportunity to honour his memory with a good cause.

So, we were delighted when we discovered the Free Kicks Foundation and the great work they do to create once in a lifetime football opportunities for kids experiencing illness or other hardships, working closely with Great Ormond Street Hospital to facilitate experiences such being a football mascot for the day. You can read about the Free Kicks Foundation and their work below - they’ve not yet worked in Northern Ireland, but I’ve spoken with them about this and they’d be delighted to deploy the funds we raise to kids in NI so we will help connect them to local hospitals/hospices at home. They are all volunteers so the money will go a long way.

The Whiteside family have all organised a walk from Poyntzpass to Scarva on Saturday 19th March - it’d be great for as many folks as possible to join it and chuck in what you can to support the Free Kicks Foundation in honour of Cliffie ❤️

Walk details from uncle Cyril - Walk 11am from Canal Bank, Poyntzpass,  walkers can walk as far as wanted (Pass to Acton Lake and back or Pass to Scarva) and then back to the Dyke Inn for teas sandwiches & sticky buns, bit of craic & a wee raffle!

Lots of love from Shirley, Chris & Kerri xxx


A wee msg from Chris in his absence in person today - 

Wow! What a fantastic sum raised. We were worried we'd set the bar a touch too high but not at all. Thanks so much to everyone who has contributed.

A great charity and a great way to remember Dad on what would have been his 60th birthday.

Just like Kerri, when I think of Dad more often than not he's wearing a black referees kit, flag in hand, waving an arm that won't fully straighten. Or he's in a football manager style coat shouting at some hung over young lad at the side of the damp and foggy pitch at Glenanne. Or he's sitting on the couch with an empty tea cup on his head (weird alright but true none the less) watching match of the day after evading the scores all day. But one memory always sticks out over the rest. Him, running laps in the rain in Antrim, his head a beaming beetroot colour, a huge sweat patch on his back and his legs - big quads and skinny calves - finding each stride unbearably difficult. He was running laps for a higher level refereeing certificate. Head down, pure determination to keep pushing, trying to cover the distance he needed to qualify. I actually can't recall if he made the distance in the time or not. Somehow it doesn't seem to matter. I just remember the big smile he gave me as I urged him over the finish line. He'd put his all in to it. I was really proud of him that day.

And I'm sure he'd be proud of the sum raised today and of his friends and family being able to get together in his memory. Hopefully without the sweaty backs, red faces and physical exhaustion of a load of laps round a track... though the canal is no doubt getting more grueling as the years go by 😀!!

On a little side note to those who knew Dad, Kerri and I would be incredibly grateful if you might take the time to WhatsApp us a random memory you have of him. It can be a funny story or the smallest and seemingly inconsequential thing, they have their own joy and poignancy. An old work colleague of Dad's from the bank in Armagh recently sent a message about playing snooker at lunch time, inadvertently slagging of his boss and always eating Tayto crisps and it was lovely to read. Anyway, absolutely no pressure, but if something comes to mind it would be so nice to read it sometime. My number is 07341387930 and Kerris is 07738699359.

Thanks again everyone!

About the charity

Free Kicks Foundation

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1121073
The aim of the Free Kicks Foundation is to provide football-related activities for ill, bereaved and deserving children, to give them a day to remember with their favourite football club.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £546.25 Gift Aid
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Offline donations

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