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Blades' tribute to city heroine Barbara

22 May 2018

Sheffield United Football Club has paid tribute to Barbara Wragg, famous for donating millions of pounds to local charities following a lottery win with husband Ray in January 2000, who has died aged 77.

Following their huge National Lottery win, Barbara and husband Ray wearing Blades home shirts, were presented with a cheque for £7.6million by then Club chairman, the late Derek Dooley, on the pitch in front of the Kop at Bramall Lane.

The Jordanthorpe-born couple selflessly donated an incredible £6million of their winnings to local charities, including Sheffield Children's Hospital and the teenage cancer unit at Weston Park Hospital.

The couple also paid for 50 World War Two veterans to visit Italy for the 60th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino in 2004, after the group had failed to secure funding.

It is a measure of Barbara and Ray that, having brought up a loving, close family on good old-fashioned values, the huge win failed to really change them. Within hours of receiving it, they began to hatch plans to benefit good causes and help others who needed it to benefit from their good fortune, and they did it in style.

Ray and Barbara also played a significant role in the development of the Sheffield United's Senior Blades club - set up in 1981 by then chairman Reg Brealey, club secretary Dick Chester and supported by Derek Dooley and George McCabe.

Sheffield United Football Club historian, John Garrett, remembers the moment the Wraggs were presented with their winnings in front of the Kop, and the impact it had on the city of Sheffield.

"I recall, as a member of staff at Sheffield United at the time, walking around the pitch one morning to see Derek Dooley present a huge cheque to a clearly ecstatic couple in Blades shirts to the sound of popping champagne corks," said John.

"Ray and Barbara were a normal couple with a normal family, who grafted hard for everything that they had. And, as it turned out, this wasn't only a life-changing amount of money for Barbara and Ray, but also one which would turn out to change the lives of countless others across the city.

"Whether it was delivering Easter eggs to a school in one of the city's more challenging areas or providing a vital piece of kit for a local hospital, I doubt we will ever truly know just how far Barbara and Ray's kindness reached, and what a difference it made to the Steel City.

"At Sheffield United we are all immensely saddened by Barbara's passing. The thoughts of all at Bramall Lane are with Ray and the family at this sad time."


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