Norwich City legend Huckerby launches his own charity
Dan Grimmer Former Canaries star Darren Huckerby has set himself an ambitious new goal - he wants to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity. The winger, who thrilled supporters when he was wearing the yellow and green of Norwich City, now wants to use his popularity to plough cash into the coffers of Norfolk charities. Darren Huckerby Trust
Former Canaries star Darren Huckerby has set himself an ambitious new goal - he wants to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity.
The winger, who thrilled supporters when he was wearing the yellow and green of Norwich City, now wants to use his popularity to plough cash into the coffers of Norfolk charities.
The 34-year-old, who made 203 appearances for the Canaries and scored 48 goals, has launched a registered charity called the Darren Huckerby Trust - with a pledge to give something back to the county which took him to its heart.
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He hopes to give something back to the lives of local people in real need, by raising money and awareness for local charities, community projects and individuals in the county.
Huckerby has set up the trust as a registered charity and revealed the first organisations to benefit would be the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, which needs more neonatal intensive care cots for premature babies, and the Teenage Cancer Trust.
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He said: “Over the years footballers have come to be seen as take, take, take and this is my chance to give something back to the people who have supported me.
“It is exciting to be setting this up. I am very driven and I don't like to be wasting time. This gives me something to aim at and to focus on, especially now that I'm not playing any more.
“During my playing years I've got used to having a set routine and this gives me a way to focus my drive at something really worthwhile.”
Huckerby, whose Carrow Road career saw him twice named player of the year and voted into the Norwich City Hall of Fame, said he had long been involved in helping good causes and the end of his playing days, following a stint with San Jose Earthquakes in the United States, gave him more opportunity to focus on that work.
He said: “I've always found it hard to do everything that I'd like to when it comes to community and charitable work. Also, it's sometimes hard to see where the money goes and who is actually benefiting from my involvement in certain events.”
He said it was vitally important to him that the money was used in Norfolk, which has been his home since his permanent switch to Carrow Road from Manchester City in 2003.
Huckerby said: “Norfolk is my home and will be forever. Even when I was in America I still kept my family home here. I love the place and if I can help a few people that's my main thinking behind the trust. It's the people of Norfolk who must benefit. That's really important to me.
“Without the people of Norwich and Norfolk I wouldn't be where I am now. I truly believe if people can support the trust like they have supported me over the past seven years, then we can do great things.”
The inaugural fundraising events will be held in October, with a golf day and charity ball at Dunston Hall on the outskirts of Norwich.
The events, on October 8/9, are set to feature a number of former and current Canaries stars, who will be supporting the new trust.
Nottingham-born Huckerby, whose career also took in Lincoln, Newcastle, Coventry, Leeds, Millwall and Nottingham Forest, said he hoped next year would see a summer ball.
He said: “I'd like to make a summer ball an annual event, something which people in Norfolk look forward to and in the future it would be good to be able to invite some of the people who we have helped.”
Anna Dugdale, chief executive at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “We are delighted that the Darren Huckerby Trust is giving its backing to this fundraising project and other good causes which will benefit our young patients and their families.”
Huckerby was full of praise for the remarkable efforts of fellow former Carrow Road favourite Bryan Gunn's efforts to raise money for leukaemia and cancer research and support, after the death of his daughter Francesca in October 1992.
That appeal hit the �1m milestone this week and Huckerby said: “Gunny's appeal is a great cause and has been superb. What I'm trying to do is a bit wider, but I hope it will continue for many years and raise money for a lot of different causes.”
Further details on the Darren Huckerby Trust are available at www.darrenhuckerbytrust.co.uk
Charities looking to get help and support from the Darren Huckerby Trust should email firstname.lastname@example.org
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He might have hung up the boots he used to terrify defences up and down the country, but Darren Huckerby is still a busy man.
As well as launching his charitable trust, the Canaries favourite is hosting the Darren Huckerby Matchday Club at Carrow Road, while he is also working towards his coaching badges.
He is also working with local businesses with ambassadorial roles and speaking engagements, and is about to add yet another string to his bow.
From today the dh6 website is launched, named in recognition of the shirt Huckerby proudly wore for the Canaries.
He said: “It should be something a little bit different, with me doing match reports after every home game where I'll be giving my points of view. I'm also planning interactive Hucks Meets features. I've made a lot of good friends during my time in the game and I will be interviewing one of them each month. But I want the questions to come from the fans. I'm hoping it will be a bit more personal than some of the interviews you read and will help show the people underneath what the public sees.”
Former Canaries players such as Iwan Roberts, Dean Ashton and Dickson Etuhu are a few of the names Huckerby hopes to feature in the coming months.
The website is at www.dh6.co.uk