The legacy of a ‘dedicated’ Rovers fan, who died after collapsing as his beloved team were relegated, is set to be preserved through charity fundraisers and a football scholarship.
Ray Dunning, of Scawthorpe, was watching Rovers’ crucial last game of the season at Leicester City when he collapsed with a brain aneurysm, and died later in hospital despite the best efforts of medics to save him.
Following his death, fans of Doncaster Rovers and Leicester City have been united in their grief for the 42-year-old and in their dedication to ensuring Rover Ray is remembered, with fans from both clubs leaving tributes at the Keepmoat Stadium’s memorial garden and even swapping shirts.
Ray’s death on May 3 came just weeks after Leicester City fan, Roger Evans, 70, who also collapsed at the King Power Stadium and later died in hospital.
And now fans from the Doncaster Rovers and Leicester City alliance are calling on both clubs to set up a pre-season friendly in memory of Ray Dunning and Roger Evans, and have even arranged two charity fundraising games between the fans from the two clubs.
Speaking on behalf of the Doncaster Rovers and Leicester City alliance, Chris Forryan said: “We all wanted to do something to help the families of both Ray and Roger, and thought this would be a fitting tribute.”
He added: “It’s not right that a football fan should go to a match and not come back again and it’s nice that we can work together to fundraise for their families. The first game will be between Rovers and Leicester City at Quorn Football Club on August 24, and we’re sorting out the next game in Doncaster at the moment.”
Fans from the alliance are currently selling red, white and blue charity wristbands representing the colours of both teams as well as car stickers, which are being sold to raise money for the families of Roger and Ray.
Mr Dunning’s wife, Angela, says she is ‘touched’ by the fundraising efforts, and welcomes the unity between fans that has been displayed over the last few weeks.
Mrs Dunning is currently working with staff at Doncaster Rovers to look into setting up a football scholarship in Ray’s name.
Details of the scholarship have not yet been finalised, but a Rovers spokesman confirmed the club is looking to work closely with Mrs Dunning to organise some of the details after Ray’s funeral which takes place today (Thursday, May 22).
The funeral cortege will be at the Keepmoat Stadium from 3pm, expected to leave at 3.10pm, and Mrs Dunning has invited fans and well wishers to pay their respects to Ray at the Keepmoat, with a private service due to take place at the Rose Hill crematorium at 4pm. Fans from both clubs are expected to turn out this afternoon.