Phil’s friends buy Town quake shirt in his memory

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FRIENDS of New Zealand earthquake victim Phil Coppeard have clubbed together to buy a football shirt auctioned in aid of an appeal.

Phil Coppeard, whose parents Barry and Barbara, and sister Jo Morley, live in Bury St Edmunds, was killed in the earthquake which struck Christchurch last month.

The 41-year-old was a fan of Ipswich Town Football Club which following the 6.3 magnitude quake, decided to auction the shirt of its player and New Zealand international Tommy Smith.

Two of Mr Coppeard’s friends won the eBay auction – Max Pentelow and Tim Evans now plan to give the shirt to his widow Suzanne.

Max said: “Phil was a good friend of mine for 15 years. Another friend of Phil’s Tim Evans and I decided to club together to get the shirt to give to Phil’s wife in his memory.”

They paid £541 for the shirt with the money going to the New Zealand Earthquake Appeal.

Defender Smith, who has now gone out on loan to Colchester United, said: “I was so pleased when I heard how much the shirt had raised and it’s nice to know the money is going to help those affected by the disaster.”

Mr Coppeard had only moved out to New Zealand in November last year and was catching the bus to university for only his second day of lectures when the tragedy happened. He had phoned his parents just an hour before the earthquake struck.

“His house had been damaged before by an earthquake and had had work done and new furniture. He was just on top of the world,” Barbara said.

His family paid tribute to his ‘very generous spirit’ and said he was always involved in charity events.

You can still give to the Red Cross New Zealand Earthquake Appeal at www.redcross.org.uk