Celebrated Ellesmere Port champion fundraiser Billy Birch is a one man premier league when it comes to raising money for good causes.
But the pensioner has just come face to face with the stars of Everton Football Club as a way of saying thank you for raising £110,000 for charity over the last 20 years.
Billy, 73, whose brother Kenny was a right back for the Blues in the 1950s, started collecting for charity after his wife died in 1991.
Billy dedicated his life to raising money for health equipment throughout the region after an accident in the same year put him in intensive care.
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He used to work for Ken Whale builders until he was crushed between a skip and a dumper truck one day in June 1991.
He was in a coma for three weeks and when he woke up decided he would give something back to the people who helped him.
Billy told The Chronicle's sister paper The Liverpool Echo: “I was a mess. I stayed at the Countess of Chester hospital. All the arteries in my body had burst and I had a punctured spine. The doctors only gave me a one in 100 chance of survival and I had machines everywhere to keep me alive. It was after that I decided to start raising money. I first raised £1,000 for equipment at the Countess of Chester.”
He now continues to raise money across the region and has branched out and raised money for garden furniture and equipment for hospitals, centres for diabsled people and schools.
Billy said: “I do it through raffles. Companies and people donate items and I raffle them in pubs and supermarkets. Altogether I’ve raised £11,259 just from raffles, at the moment I’m raising to buy two laptops and an Ipad for a centre in Ellesmere Port.
“I would like to thank everyone in Ellesmere Port for their continued support and to the companies who have donated items to the raffle. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Billy, who is the brother of Everton player late Kenny Birch, who died last year, is a keen Everton supporter and regularly watches their matches on the television although he has been unable to make it to a match recently.
An Everton spokesperson said: “Billy has raised an incredible amount of money for countless good causes. For the last 20 years he has been going the extra mile to improve the lives of others and his community spirit is an inspiration. As he’s such a loyal Evertonian, we are delighted to be able to recognise his remarkable work by offering him a day to remember at Goodison Park.”