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Bradford City face masks help score cash
7:00am Monday 11th February 2013 in News
A lifelong Bradford City fan is aiming to score for the club and the burns unit by selling specially-made masks of the players and joint chairman.
John Barker, 59, who has not missed a Bantams game in nearly 30 years, will be heading to Wembley with a party of family and friends and hopes to see thousands of supporters wearing the masks as they cheer on the team.
Mr Barker, who runs a print company with his wife Frances has used local companies to produce the masks, which feature players Matt Duke, captain Gary Jones, James Hanson, Carl McHugh and Nahki Wells, as well as joint chairman Mark Lawn.
The couple had approved sales stands at Valley Parade for Saturday’s game against Gillingham and with other sales venues planned they are hoping to raise thousands of pounds for the Bradford Burns Research Unit and the football club.
The masks are on offer at £1.50 for one or £5 for the nap hand.
Mr Barker began watching City when his sons Matthew and Sean were small, shortly after the Valley Parade fire disaster which claimed the life of one of his neighbours.
He said: “We wanted to do some official merchandising to raise money for the club and the burns unit and we came up with the idea of the masks. We have the blessing of the club and Mark Lawn, who has been the face of the Cup run, and has been supportive.
“Family and friends chose the five players, but if there is a demand we can produce masks for every player.
“We have done thousands of them already and I hope to see our fans in James Hanson and Nahki Wells masks behind Matt Duke’s goal for the inevitable penalty shoot-out in the final.”
Mr Barker, whose three grandchildren have even been involved in promoting the masks, added: “This final is the biggest and most amazing experience I have ever seen as a Bradford City supporter, because we didn’t expect it to happen. I think our name is on the cup and I think we will win on penalties, and I hope the masks help the team.”
Professor David Sharpe, director of the burns research unit, said: “It’s wonderful news and greatly appreciated. We are heavily reliant on the generosity of people who donate money and they know it will go to a good cause.
“Our research unit is working on human cells to try and improve the rate at which wounds heal. Anything we can do is important and any donation towards that is equally important.”