HUNDREDS of people came to Newport’s Coronation Park today to watch a charity football match in memory of Pontypool mum Caroline Howarth.
Months in the making, the match organised by Lisa Savage of Newport County, saw more than 200 people turn up to watch Newport County XI take on Caerleon Town AFC.
Crowds made up of Caroline and husband Lee Howarth’s friends and family, filled the park on what turned out to be a glorious summer’s day.
The match aimed to raise money for Caroline’s only child, baby Hallie-Rose Howarth, which will be put into a trust fund for when she turns 18. County won 8-0 and the amount raised is now being totted up.
Caroline, who tragically died on May 10, just two days after the birth of her daughter, suffered a severe asthma attack that inhibited her breathing and that, coupled with an already decreased level of oxygen in her blood, caused her to go into cardiac arrest during an emergency caesarean section to deliver Hallie-Rose.
A minute's silence led by both teams was held in her memory before the game kicked off at 1pm.
New father Lee Howarth carried his daughter, who was wearing a personalised pink Newport County top, on to the pitch ahead of the game as a team ‘mascot.’
Mr Howarth said that he was “blown away” by the support he had received since his wife’s death.
“Everything is going well,” he said of the game.
“My daughter is happy, she will be smiling.
“I’m excited to play-I have done a bit of training for the game.
“The day means a lot to me-Newport County have been amazing, as have the managers Bill Grant and Mark Andrews.
“I am just so grateful for everything.”
Caroline’s mum Marilyn Brooks found the day to be very emotional and was overwhelmed at the support the family had received in memory of her “beautiful daughter.”
"I would like to say on behalf of the family how much we appreciate all of the support,” she said.
During the day music from a range of local artists including Arianne Wells, Jamee Summers and Tobias Robertson was provided by Grant Tilbury and Michelle Waterhouse of artist, tour management and promotion company; Listen To This.
The Smile Council- Newport County’s fundraising group- bought Caerleon Town new kit and Newport City Radio got on board with the match announcing.
The day also featured stalls and demonstrations including one by The Territorial Army with their medical vehicle.
Six lucky County fans also had the opportunity to pay to play with their sporting heroes.
Event organiser Lisa Savage of Newport County, said: “I am really pleased with how it has all turned out we have managed to have sponsorship for everything.”
To donate to the fundraising page set up for Hallie-Rose, visit gofundme.com/Lee-and-Hallie-Rose