Family and friends line up to play in memory of Spara

Bellshill TNT charity match in memory of Gary Brown
Bellshill TNT charity match in memory of Gary Brown

Over £800 has been raised for the British Heart Foundation in memory of TNT worker Gary Brown, known affectionately to his friends as Spara.

This is the third year that the men of TNT Bellshill and family members have played in a charity football match to honour Gary. The match against Hoytown Colts was held at Ravenscraig sports centre.

Jason McCabe who was Gary’s friend since childhood was named man of the match which delighted the family.

He had travelled from England to take part and he had boosted the sum raised by running a marathon with sponsorship from the Afton Hotel in Eastbourne where is manager.

Gary was given the nickname of Spara, because of his legs, when he played football in his younger days with St Columba’s Boys’ Club and Motherwell Boys’ Club.

The name stuck over the years, his mum Rena said.

Gary was married to Margaret, adopting stepchildren Jasmin and Charles, and they had two other children together, Nyree and Maci.

He was only 37 when he died in May 2011 and it was a great shock to all the family and his friends.

Rena explained: “Gary worked at TNT in Bellshill and he loved his job.

“He made a lot of friends there as well.

“He was always healthy and it was a big shock when he took a heart attack when he was getting ready to go to work that morning.

“He died before he got to the hospital.

“The football match was played in his honour and I, along with his sister Lisa and her family, Gary’s wife and children are really grateful that the workers at TNT remember him in this way.

“We would like to thank every one of them.”

Already the Matt Busby Centre has been booked for next year’s match.