Gary Lineker appeals to FA to help fan get tickets to Euro 2020 final

Gary Lineker appeals to FA to help England fan get tickets to Euro 2020 final after he turned down chance to watch Denmark clash so he could donate stem cells

  • Sam Astley, 24, passed up semi-final to donate stem cells and bone marrow 
  • His girlfriend Beth Hill, 25, won the tickets in competition but Mr Astley didn’t go
  • Gary Lineker tweeted at the FA to ask them to find tickets for him to go to final 
  • Critical care nurse girlfriend Ms Hill was also unable to go as she was isolating  
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
  • Gary Lineker has today appealed to the FA to find tickets to the Euro 2020 final for a selfless fan who gave up his seat at Wembley so he could donate stem cells.

    Sam Astley, 24, passed up the chance of a lifetime after he signed up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register.

    Mr Astley, from Sedgley in Dudley, West Midlands, was told he was a match a few weeks ago, but his girlfriend then won a competition for two tickets to the England v Denmark semi final.

    So he gallantly gave up his place to visit a private clinic in London so he could donate stem cells and bone marrow, and said: ‘No football game beats saving someone’s life.’ 

    His critical care nurse girlfriend Beth Hill, 25, was also unable to go to the match because she was self-isolating so the pair donated their prize, which included a stay at The Dorchester hotel and £500 spending money, to relatives. 

    Now the BBC’s Gary Lineker has appealed to the FA to help get them tickets to the final against Italy on Sunday, after he missed the chance to see England beat Denmark in the semi final clash.

    Sam Astley, 24, passed up the chance of a lifetime of watching England romp to victory against Denmark in last night's semi-final after he signed up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register

    Sam Astley, 24, passed up the chance of a lifetime of watching England romp to victory against Denmark in last night’s semi-final after he signed up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register

    Mr Astley, from Sedgley in Dudley, West Midlands, was told he was a match a few weeks ago but in a twist of fate, his girlfriend (pictured together) then won a competition for two tickets to yesterday's match at Wembley

    Mr Astley, from Sedgley in Dudley, West Midlands, was told he was a match a few weeks ago but in a twist of fate, his girlfriend (pictured together) then won a competition for two tickets to yesterday’s match at Wembley

    Former footballer Lineker retweeted the message and said: 'Amazing. Can you help @FA @England?'

    Former footballer Lineker retweeted the message and said: ‘Amazing. Can you help @FA @England?’

    Gary Lineker has joined the plight to appeal to FA for Mr Astley to get tickets to Sunday's final

    Gary Lineker has joined the plight to appeal to FA for Mr Astley to get tickets to Sunday’s final

    A Twitter user called Gemma Peters tweeted to Lineker: ‘Football fan Sam had tickets to last night’s game but passed it up to donate his stem cells after he was told by @AnthonyNolan he was a match. Surely we know someone who can get him a finals ticket to say thanks?’ 

    Former footballer Lineker then retweeted the message and said: ‘Amazing. Can you help @FA @England?’  

    Mr Astley told Stourbridge News: ‘Life is more important than a football game at the end of the day. No football game beats saving someone’s life.’  

    Mr Astley, who is a buyer for Yamazaki Mazak manufacturing technology firm in Worcester, said he was a ‘bit nervous’ about the procedure but said he is pleased he signed up alongside his girlfriend Beth Hill. 

    He will be donating stem cells and a litre of bone marrow which will most likely leave him in some discomfort for up to a month. 

    Beth, of Cradley Heath, West Midlands, who works as a critical care nurse at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, also had to miss out on the prize as she is self-isolating. 

    Sam signed up to the register an a memorial football match organised in memory of Olly Wilkes, who took his own life aged 22.

    Olly’s father Simon Wilkes suffers from a blood disorder and has been trying to raise awareness of the condition and help get more people to donate stem cells. 

    Mr Astley said: 'Life is more important than a football game at the end of the day. No football game beats saving someone's life'

    Mr Astley said: ‘Life is more important than a football game at the end of the day. No football game beats saving someone’s life’

    Mr Astley signed up to the register at the Olly Wilkes memorial football tournament set up in memory of the young footballer who committed suicide at the age of 22

    Mr Astley signed up to the register at the Olly Wilkes memorial football tournament set up in memory of the young footballer who committed suicide at the age of 22

    Simon, from Brierley Hill, West Midlands, said he was overcome with emotion at the gesture by Sam who has never seen England play or been to Wembley Stadium.

    He said: ‘It’s a once in a lifetime thing to win that.

    ‘It’s wonderful what he’s going to do. He was already sacrificing work time and now he’s sacrificing the chance of a lifetime.’

    Rebecca Pritchard, director of register development at the Anthony Nolan charity, said: ‘Our donors are incredible people at the best of times, bearing in mind they agree to help a complete stranger in this way.

    ‘But these are extraordinary times. Sam has done an extraordinary and incredibly selfless thing by putting the needs of his recipient, above his own pleasure.

    ‘What a hero. By doing this he’s giving someone with blood cancer or a blood disorder their best chance at survival and we cannot thank him enough.

    ‘Every person who, like Sam, joins the register, has the potential to help save someone in desperate need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant.’

    The charity is particularly looking to encourage more men aged 16 to 30 to join the Anthony Nolan register as they are the most likely to be chosen to donate.

    Anyone interested in signing up or finding out more can go online at https://www.anthonynolan.org/help-save-a-life/join-stem-cell-register.

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