A COUPLE who run Britain’s most charitable pub enjoyed VIP treatment at Chester FC’s third annual ‘Think Pink’ day.
Joe Gildea and his wife Helen, who run the Ship Victory in George Street, have raised more than £103,000 for the Countess of Chester Hospital’s breast care unit over the past 10 years.
They were invited to attend the Blues match against Histon by club sponsors MBNA in recognition of their fantastic fundraising achievements.
Joe, 69, said: “We both had a fantastic day and were given the VIP treatment and looked after from start to finish by everyone at the club.
“The highlight though was being invited on to the pitch to release ‘Think Pink’ balloons before the game. There were almost 5,000 balloons so it was a really special moment to see them all fly off, and it was nice to see players and fans all getting involved with the ‘pink’ theme.”
Joe’s daughter Angela died from breast cancer in January, 2002. He launched the Angela Gildea Memorial Fund shortly after her death, and last month his pub was crowned best charitable pub in the Great British Pub Awards 2012.
Steve Ashton, head of partnerships at MBNA and former Chester FC CEO, sat with the couple during the game.
He said: “Joe and Helen are two of the nicest people you could hope to meet. What they have managed to achieve in the last 10 years is truly remarkable and we were honoured to have them as our guests on Saturday.
“It’s the third year in a row the club has hosted the ‘Think Pink’ game in support of the Countess of Chester Hospital’s breast care unit, and again this year the club’s fans have shown they are some of the most generous in the country, raising more than £11,000 to help fund a new specialist breast tissue x-ray machine at the hospital.”