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Downing lends his support to Paul Birch Trust

Downing lends his support to Paul Birch Trust have an interview with former Wolves star Keith Downing who is running the Birmingham half marathon to raise money for the Paul Birch Trust Fund and have given Vital permission to publish it:

Downing lends his support to Paul Birch Trust

Keith delighted to help cancer victim Paul - 'one of life's very special people'.

By Ian Clarkson October 06, 2008

Former Wolves star Keith Downing is running the Birmingham half marathon to raise money for the Paul Birch Trust Fund. Birch, who has been undergoing chemotherapy in his battle against bone cancer, was a teammate of Downing at Wolves and a recent television article inspired Downing to try and help Birch.

The former Villa and Wolves star spent ten years at Villa Park between 1980 and 1991 before moving on to Molineux and made over 450 appearances in his career. However, Birch has been diagnosed with bone cancer and when Downing saw the news bulletin on television saying that lifelong Villa fan Chris Cooper decided to cycle from Villa Park to Paris - a 500 mile round trip - to raise funds for the Paul Birch Trust, it galvanised him into action.

'I saw the article on television and said to my wife Claire that we've got to do something, as I've known Paul a long time,' said Downing. 'I have run half marathons before and did the London Marathon in 2005 and Claire regularly runs half marathons so we decided to enter the first ever Birmingham half marathon and raise money for the Paul Birch Trust Fund.

'I know Paul has been ill and spending a lot of time in Good Hope Hospital undergoing chemotherapy and doesn't want to talk too much at present so I texted him and asked if it was okay for us to run the race and raise funds for him? He texted back 'yes, and said 'many thanks' and I am delighted to be running for this worthy cause.

'I had a close relationship with Paul when he played for Wolves and he is a genuinely lovely guy and I wanted to do something to help him. Hopefully, people will rally round and we can help Paul.'

Neil Rioch, founder & chairman of Aston Villa's former players association set up the Paul Birch Trust fund and explained the reason behind it. He said: 'Paul Birch is one of life's very special people.

'With this condition preventing him from working for the past eight months, and having a ten-year-old daughter to support, life for Paul couldn't be any tougher but, typically, he is showing the same qualities he did as a footballer in battling this dreaded disease. These events are planned to help generate the funds that will ease the burden and ensure a better quality of life for Paul and his family.'

For details on how to sponsor Keith Downing during his Birmingham half marathon run on Sunday October 26 please contact the numbers below
Karl Court
General Secretary/Treasurer
Aston Villa FPA
(Office) 0121 628 3274

* All cheques should be made payable to Paul Birch Trust and sent to Paul Birch Trust, Aston Villa FC, Villa Park, Birmingham, B6 6HE.

With thanks to The Official Website of The Professional Footballers Association

Plus a reminder of Vital Villa's fundraising attempts: Click Here

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Site Staff
Date:Monday October 6 2008
Time: 3:33PM

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