A family connection is set to unify rival football fans on Saturday as they learn more about a Newark teenager’s fight against cancer.
A film about the life of Sam White, who died aged 16 in 2013 after suffering from a brain tumour, will be shown at half-time in the Championship match between home-side Brighton and Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest.

Sam’s father, Mr Mike White, is originally from Brighton, and most of his family live there.

Sam’s cousin, Lewis Dunk, plays for Brighton.

Lewis said: “Sam was my cousin and although he was from Newark and from a Forest-supporting family, he was a massive Brighton fan along with his dad — and there was plenty of banter between us all whenever Albion played Forest.

“He was always smiling, even when he was going through the toughest of times with his treatment.“He battled his illness for years but it never stopped him from doing what he wanted in life.

“His name lives on and we now try to raise as much money as we can to help with cancer research.”

The Sam White Legacy Fund was set up by his parents to further Sam’s goal for greater awareness and research of cancer in young people.

Mr and Mrs White will take to the pitch at half-time with a banner and address the crowd and introduce the film, which can be viewed on the Advertiser website from today.

In addition, Brighton are allowing bucket collections at the ground for the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre in Nottingham.

T-shirts featuring the fund have been printed for both sets of players.

Mr White, a paramedic, ran the Brighton Marathon in memory of keen sportsman Sam last year, and said: “It is going to be a very overwhelming occasion.

“Sam and I have been to see Brighton together and he would have loved that kind of attention. It’s sad that we do it without him but we will take his message to thousands of people.

“Lewis is Brighton’s top scorer at the moment and I’m sure he will be doing all he can to bag another one for Sam on the day.” 

The Whites met the then Forest manager, Stuart Pearce, and several players including Michael Mancienne, Andy Reid, Henri Lansbury and Jamaal Lascelles at the reverse fixture earlier this season.

“We are very grateful to both clubs for making this happen,” Mrs Pam White said.

Nottingham Forest told the Advertiser: “The club want to help raise awareness about the fund and support the family with their fundraising drive.”

Mr Matt Ridyard, of the Newark branch of the Nottingham Forest Supporters’ Club, said he would organise a collection on the coach to Brighton and spread the word among other Reds’ fans.

Sam, a former pupil at The Newark Academy, who was known for his beaming smile, lived with the tumour for 3½ years.

He did all he could to push for funding for research, and travelled regularly to Belgium for pioneering treatment.

In 2010 he was named an Advertiser Child of Courage.

In 2012, he carried the Olympic Torch in Newark as part of the relay that preceded the London games.

A black-tie gala night with an auction of sporting memorabilia, which will be attended by high-profile sporting names, takes place for the second year on February 28 and is a sell-out.

Donations to Sam’s fund can be made by texting BHNF05 and the amount to 70070.

To see the film about Sam’s life go to www.newarkadvertiser.co.uk

[This article is reproduced from the Newark Advertiser website.]