Premier League stars Kieran Trippier and Charlie Austin lend support to Burnley FC employee's cancer mission

Former Clarets Kieran Trippier and Charlie Austin are the latest in a long line of professional footballers to lend their support to cancer stricken Burnley FC employee Ellis Lee.

Friday, 17th May 2019, 10:37 am
Ellis Lee with a selection of the signed shirts he's been donated

Trippier, 28, who scored in England's World Cup semi-final against Croatia last summer, and could soon claim a Champions League winners medal, got in touch with his former club after reading an article in the Burnley Express, which was published in March.

Burnley's Player of the Year for the 2011/12 campaign donated the shirt that he wore when the Three Lions beat Montenegro 5-1 in the European Championship Group A qualifier at Stadion Pod Goricom.

Meanwhile, Austin, who scored 45 goals for the Clarets in 90 appearances, before signing for QPR ahead of the 2013/14 season, posted a signed Southampton shirt to help raise more funds.

Ellis Lee

"Kieran Trippier rang up and spoke to us and he sent up an England shirt. It was from the game away at Montenegro.

"Charlie Austin heard me on TalkSport as well so he sent me a Southampton shirt that was signed by all the team.

"It's nice for the ex-Burnley lads to come forward, we'd not even contacted them. Spurs had got in touch after seeing the Burnley Express article and that's when they got Tripps involved.

"It's class. I moved from Bradford to come over to this club and I didn't know anybody. They've really made me feel like I'm a part of the family.

Kieran Trippier donated the shirt that he wore when the Three Lions beat Montenegro 5-1 in the European Championship Group A qualifier. Photo: Getty

"I'm going in to my fourth season now. Chaz rang up, so did Tripps, and they said they wanted to send shirts up.

"It just shows what this club is like, it's still connected with a lot of great people. Even though they're not here, they're still contributing."

Since being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in December, Ellis has raised just short of £30,000 to aid the fight against cancer.

The soon-to-be 21-year-old had raised around £3,500 for Bloodwise, formerly Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, on his JustGiving page, while a charity night at the Malmaison Hotel in Leeds raised more than £22,000 for Ward J94 Young Adult Cancer Unit at St James’ Hospital in Leeds, where he's undergoing chemotherapy.

Household names from the world of sport, particularly football, donated items for auction with Ricky Hatton, who held multiple world championships at light-welterweight and one at welterweight, gifting a pair of boxing gloves.

Ellis received memorabilia from Manchester rivals, City and United, with John Stones and Marcus Rashford getting on board, Brighton's Bruno followed suit, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy and team-mate Ben Chilwell also got involved, as did Bradford City's Billy Clarke, who donated a Sunderland shirt from John O'Shea and a pair of football boots.

Ellis has also received shirts from Chelsea, AFC Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Leeds United, Champions League finalists and Premier League runners up Liverpool, Accrington Stanley and Blackpool, and the current Burnley squad had a whip round before the season came to a close.

Everton, who beat Sean Dyche's side on the penultimate game of the term at Goodison Park, have also pledged goalkeeper Jordan Pickford's jersey.

"It was really good, there was a really good turnout for it. I'm really happy," he said. "We didn't manage to get rid of every shirt on the night because there was a lot going on, there was a bit of everything for everyone, so we've still got plenty of shirts to put online, which will be a process over the summer to raise more money.

"I'd received about 25 shirts. My bedroom was full of football shirts. I ended up keeping the Marcus Rashford one. I donated £200 myself because it was the first one that I got so I'm going to put it in a frame with a picture.

"I never thought it would grow to be as big as what it has been. Just getting it out there has made it get bigger. It's been really good, really overwhelming.

"When I first had the idea of doing it I pictured us sat in a pub with about 30 people and raising £1,000 but we raised just over £22,000 at the event.

"It's been a really big effort from everyone that has been involved. If we'd have raised £10,000 I would have been happy but overall, including the JustGiving page, we've raised just under £30,000."

The inspirational Yorkshireman, who is a media assistant at Turf Moor, has been forced to put trips to Vegas and Dubai on hold as he continues to undergo treatment.

However, praying for the all clear on July 16th, Ellis is planning a huge celebration in the summer, which could begin with an appearance in Joe Thompson's testimonial.

The 30-year-old midfielder has twice recovered from cancer and went on to score the winner against Charlton Athletic on the final day of last season that helped Rochdale avoid relegation in League One.

Ellis, who lost his mum, Gail, to cancer when he was just three-years-old while stepmum, Sangita, has recently won her battle with breast cancer, said: "Joe Thompson, the lad at Rochdale, had the same cancer as me. His event was really interesting, it was at Spotland, and it was a really good night.

"It was good to meet him and finally speak to him. He's invited me to play in his testimonial, which is the week after I finish my treatment, which I finish on July 16th.

"He said I could play in that and I think there are a few big names playing. He came through United's academy with Cleverley, Rashford, he knows them all.

"Danny Simpson is playing as well so it will be nice to play against some Premier League players.

"It's interesting, I might only get five minutes because I'm not fit enough, but it would be nice to get out.

"He's been class and he always messages to see how I'm doing because he's been through it. He had it, beat it, but it came back again and then he kept Rochdale up the last game of the season. You couldn't write it!"

He added: "I'm feeling alright. They're getting harder physically, it's finally hitting my body a bit, but I'm trying to keep on as normal. I'm just trying to keep busy, it's easier to be out.

"It's been a big distraction through all of this, I'm more than halfway through my treatment now. It's something that I'll try to keep doing because it's kept my mind away from it all.

"There are already talks in place to host another event next year. It went that well, everybody enjoyed it, but we might have to get a bigger room because it was absolutely packed. It could be an annual thing.

"It's six weeks before I'm hopefully finishing treatment. I have another scan in four weeks and from there they'll know whether I'm free or not to carry on as normal. It will hopefully be a big celebration when it's done."