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Family of tragic England fan donate money to hospital

By Richard Guttridge | Cannock | Health | Published:

The family of tragic football fan Rob Spray who died while travelling to support England in Bulgaria have donated nearly £5,000 to a hospital trust to buy new equipment for newborn babies.

WOLVERHAMPTON COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 07/02/2020..Pic in Wolverhampton, Newcross Hospital and the Neonatal ward, of Malcolm Spray and Katie Brown (Dad and sister of Rob Spray who died while abroad in Police custody). With them L-R: Kate Cheshire (Matron), Richard Heaver (Consultant), Hannah Kennedy (Sister at the hospital). They have raised money on behalf of Rob and have donated money to the hospital after Katie's twins were born there. While there they needed lots of blood tests due to jaundice, and the money they have raised will be used for equipment to scan babies eyes, which means less babies will have to come to hospital and have pysical blood tests..

Donations raised through the West Bromwich Albion fan’s funeral, and also from crowdfunding online, have been donated to the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

The new machines, which will spare babies from having blood tests, will be used at Cannock Chase Hospital.

The machine will use light to treat babies rather than making them undergo blood tests.

Mr Spray, aged 32, from Heath Hayes, died in police custody after flying out to Sofia for the Euro 2020 qualifier in October. His family have demanded answers about what happened to him.

His sister Katie Brown wanted to donate the money to the hospital trust after remembering how her brother got upset when her newborn twins Elfie and Savannah had to undergo blood tests in December 2018.

She said: “Rob was really close to me. When I had twins I was in there for two weeks as they had severe jaundice. They had to have three blood tests a day and it used to make Rob upset. So we had the idea to buy this machine.”

Ms Brown, 40, said the gift to the hospital was “a bit of a positive” following the tragedy of losing her brother in mysterious circumstances.

She admitted she was close to tears as she and her father Malcolm Spray handed over the cheque for £4,700 to staff at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, which is also run by the Royal Wolverhampton Trust.

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She said: “I was very emotional. I had to explain what had happened to Rob as some people hadn’t heard about it. The machine is going to Cannock. The Cannock community have been really helpful to us so we wanted to say thank you.”

Calls for a investigation by the Government into Mr Spray’s death could be debated in Parliament after a petition set up by a friend passed the required 100,000 signatures. Ms Brown said the family were still struggling to come to terms with what happened.

She said: “It’s like a bulldozer has hit the family.

“Rob was a big part of the family and he’s not there anymore. I don’t think we’ll ever get over it.

“All we do is discuss what could have happened to him. Did he do this? Did he go there? Why did he go out at that time?”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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