The sudden death of well-known former Devon goalkeeper Mike ‘Fudge’ Bassett from Covid-19 earlier this year shocked the local community.
Now his daughter Paige is raising funds to help other young people dealing with grief and bereavement following her beloved dad’s death at the age of 61.
Known to all as Fudge, he collapsed and died at home within a fortnight of catching the virus in January this year. His wife Jane, daughter Paige and her partner Steve all caught Covid. Paige said she and Steve were asymptomatic but her parents both became poorly and then suddenly her father became more poorly and an air ambulance was called, but he died suddenly at home.
“I think it really shocked the community – people were really taken aback because my dad didn’t look his age and he was really fit and healthy. He was out and about every day walking the dog.
Fudge played in goal for Newton Abbot Spurs after having trials for England as a boy, and was widely accepted by many as Devon’s best amateur goalie in his era.
Teacher Paige has been surprised at the huge response to her fundraising page in his memory. Within hours of setting it up the GoFundMe had already smashed Paige’s £500 target and quickly hit nearly £1,000. The money will go to bereavement charity Winston’s Wish to help young people dealing with loss.
Paige said: “I was meant to run the Plymouth half marathon last year, but it was cancelled due to the Covid restrictions. Sadly my circumstances changed in the year and I am now running in September in memory of dad.”
She said: “Our whole world changed overnight, leaving a hole that won’t ever be filled.”
Paige said that thanks to Ventrus Academy where she works as a teacher in Exeter she was lucky to have ‘amazing’ bereavement counselling.
You can stay up to date on the top news near you with DevonLive’s FREE newsletters – enter your email address at the top of the page or sign up to our newsletters here
“I am not ashamed to say that I have received the most amazing bereavement counselling to support my overwhelming emotions and come to grips with losing my Dad. I’ve had some real lows that have almost crippled me. The counselling taught me techniques to deal with my own emotions and understand what grief is.
“I would like to raise a little bit of money for children who are in the same situation as me. Supporting children through loss and understanding their own emotions.”
Fudge was born in Kingsteignton and worked into his late 50s for Teignbridge Propellors. After retiring he worked as a cleaner for elderly people to keep him busy and built up a big clientele.
Paige said: “Dad was a really lovely man who was taken away too early. People loved him. He was the best dad to me and my brother Clark. He was a football and sports fanatic. As a boy he had trials for England schoolboys and people always tell me he was Devon’s best goalkeeper.
“It’s been a very difficult time and mum is still struggling a bit. Mum and dad were together since they were young.
“After dad was semi-retired we got Buddy the golden retriever and he was dad’s world.
“A huge thank you to everyone that has supported me, Mum and Clark during these dark times. I don’t need to name names, some people have been our guiding light and been there day and night, you have made this heartbreaking journey slightly easier. We are forever in your debt.
“A final special shout out to my Mum, Clark, Payner and Mol for being the best family network possible. We were a team of six, now we are a team of five and what a team we are! I love them so much and Dad would be so proud of all of us.”
Paige added: “Everybody who is dealing with bereavement deserves to get some counselling and I would urge everybody to not be shy and get help. I still have my up and down days, but counselling was definitely a big turning point for me.”
To support Paige and raise funds for Winston’s Wish charity you can donate here.
More news from around Devon: