JAMIE MINES was a real fans’ favourite for his goalscoring exploits at clubs like Frome Town, Larkhall Athletic, Paulton Rovers and Radstock Town.
“In his early 20s he was quite direct – he wouldn’t want me to say, ‘greedy’,” says former team-mate and long-time friend Billy Wright.
“At the age of 23 or 24 something clicked and he started banging in goals left, right and centre. At Larkhall he was very prolific and was a big part of some successful seasons.
“He was part of the Frome set-up and a fans’ favourite as they went up through the leagues. He loves playing football. He’s a very infectious character who loves the team spirit.
“We’ve got a very close-knit group of friends born from our football days 10-15 years ago. We used to all knock about in Sunday football when that was popular as well.”
But this isn’t just a happy story. Days before Christmas, around seven weeks ago, the 33-year-old, a scaffolder, was working at height in Swindon when he was severely electrocuted.
Instead of spending his first Christmas with his five-month old twins Isabella and Savannah he was in an induced coma in hospital. His injuries so severe that both hands and one of his legs have been amputated.
It’s difficult to imagine how much his life has been changed forever in a single moment. The Football Family can sound a tired cliche at times. But it’s in times such as this it rings true. And the sport is looking after one of its own.
A Go Fund Me page set-up to raise money for Mines smashed the original target of £10,000. The next milestone of £20,000 was quickly surpassed with donations flooding in from all over the country.
The running total is now at £96,600 – and it’s not stopping there. Frome, Slough Town, Bath City, Warminster, Westbury United, Bradford Town, Larkhall, Shepton Mallett and Kettering Town have all held bucket collections.
Former team-mate Matt Cooper raised £6,000 with a game in Australia. Wright played with Mines and his older brother Ben for years and is helping with the mammoth fundraising effort.
“It’s amazing to see the football community pull together, hear about it and do something about it,” Wright says.
“Even though you don’t play in the same team as somebody, it’s that thought of loving the game so much and having it taken away from you in the blink of an eye.”
Alan Shearer, Michael Owen, Burnley boss Sean Dyche, boxer Joe Calzaghe, writer Alastair Campbell and comedian Rob Brydon have all been in touch and recorded video messages of support.
Mines is still in intensive care but he’s making progress in what has been a very dire situation.
“He’s definitely aware of all the support that’s been coming in,” Wright said. “It’s a massive help to him so that’s been positive.
“He’s seen all the video messages that have come through and they’ve cheered him up.”
On March 19, Frome Town will host a family fun day. Entry is free and 12 teams – drawn out of a hat by Arsenal greats Lee Dixon and David Seaman – will play for the Mines Cup.
Frome Town legends – led by goal hero Mark Salter – are taking part, along with other teams from the clubs Mines played for or players he’s played with.
After the tournament, there will be an auction with some amazing lots on offer. Signed shirts from Newcastle United, Bristol City, Swindon Town and Burnley as well as an England shirt signed by Gazza, who has also sent a personal message to Mines.
There’s even an autographed Joe Montana NFL helmet, Bath rugby shirt, Ricky Hatton shorts, Chris Eubank Snr and Jnr boxing gloves, Fernando Alonso’s steering wheel and Frome-born Jenson Button’s signed BAR helmet.
It’s hoped the cash will keep pouring in to help Mines’ future.
“The idea of the fund is to help with his rehabilitation,” Wright said. “That’s not cheap. There are programmes and places you can go to around the world for people who have lost limbs and the Army do lots of things too.
“This money will be used to help him get the best support and treatment possible. It will help him massively.”
To donate visit www.gofundme.com/ raising-money-for-jamie-mines
Or if you fancy bidding for an item on offer, check out www.auctionforjamie.com