Legacy foundation of Ulverston boy Josh is supporting young people
A FOUNDATION created in honour of a popular Ulverston boy has made its first donation to benefit young people and the community.
The Joshua West Foundation is part of the legacy of the late Josh West, a talented footballer who died in April last year following an asthma attack days before his 12th birthday.
His foundation raises money to support young people, youth organisations and Asthma UK.
Josh's family wanted Swarthmoor Junior Football Club to be the first organisation to benefit. Goalkeeper Josh had been involved with Swarthmoor from age four. The avid junior footballer, also played for Kendal United.
His dad, Lee West, is an Under-14s coach at Swarthmoor, his brother, Billy, nine, is also a junior player there, and the West's football family of friends and teammates are based there.
Mr West said the club, led by junior club chairman, Tom Tomsett, was a tower of strength to them following Josh's death.
The club also supported Mr West to be able to continue coaching the team of Josh's friends, a team that was missing Josh, and they have pulled together around him.
In the spring, young Swarthmoor and Kendal players unveiled a memorial bench for Josh at Swarthmoor FC. A stone next to the bench displays the words "Mark Up" - words Josh would often shout down the pitch to his teammates. Another stone says "YNWA", the acronym for, the Liverpool FC Kop anthem, as Josh was a big Liverpool fan, and also features the Joshua Tree emblem.
The family has very proudly presented £1,000 to Swarthmoor FC this summer as the first funds handed out from Josh's foundation.
"The club have been a big part of Josh's life since he was four. I started taking him there at four," said Mr West.
"The club have been there for us. It was important for us that this was the first donation from the foundation.
"The least we could do as a foundation was to help the club. All my boys asked me to stay on, last season was very, very tough. But they wanted to play for me and Josh. The support of my players, club and the parents has been unbelievable,"he said.
During September, Swarthmoor Junior FC and Ulverston Rangers will play one another for Joshua's Shield.
Josh was an Ulverston Victoria High School pupils. UVHS has donated £5,000 to Asthma UK via the Joshua West Foundation. This was raised through the school's end-of-year sponsored walk, in which Josh's parents, Mr West and Nicola Lancaster, and brother Billy took part.
The family walked alongside Josh's year group, Year Eight, which included Josh's friends from his football team and school.
Mr West said: "For the whole school to be out there doing that and raising money for Asthma UK for Josh was brilliant.
"We are really grateful to the Ulverston Victoria High School pupils, staff and teacher Howard Taylor for organising the event.
"The organisation and respect of the students was unbelievable. They were the most well behaved and respectful students."
The Joshua West Foundation will also be making a donation to the Joe's First Steps Appeal, to help Ulverston eight-year-old Joe Morgan. Joe has cerebral palsy and his family are trying to raise £100,000 to pay for life-changing surgery in the United States to help Joe walk again.
Mr West said Josh would want to help the appeal to assist another young person.
The West family will also be giving funds to The Bluebell Foundation, which supports people experiencing grief associated with loss during a pregnancy, the death of a baby, child or young person.
Mr West said: "The Bluebell Foundation really helped Billy out."
The family said they helped Billy became bright and bubbly again.
Also to benefit from Josh's legacy organisation will be Feature Youth Club in Croftlands. Josh attended the group and went on trips and sporting activities with the group. The family want to fund a trampolining trip.
They have thanked all the groups and clubs that have been doing fundraising to support the work of the foundation in Josh's name.
As part of the Asthma awareness work, GSK Ulverston apprentices created a campaign video showing people how they can help people with asthma and potentially save a life.
The GSK apprentices dedicate their national Apprentice Team of the Year Award to Josh, who had inspired their campaign.