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Fans raise funds for Barrow captain forced to retire at 22

When Barrow captain Lewis Hardcastle was forced to retire at the age of 22 because of a heart condition, the club’s trust and his teammates snapped into action to rally around Lewis and his family.

The Bluebirds Trust announced that their regular, and popular, 50-50 raffle would on this occasion be used to raise funds for Lewis. Barrow fans responded and a record 5534 tickets were sold.

This meant the lucky winner would pocket a cool £2767 prize and, crucially, the same amount of money had been raised for Lewis.

The club captain’s popularity among his peers was also proven as teammate Brad Barry launched a fundraising appeal which has ticked past the £10,000 mark.

“I’m raising money for a good friend of mine who’s had to retire from football at the age of 22,” said Brad Barry on the fundraising page.

“Lewis was a young athlete who had a very bright future in football but due to a heart condition he has been told he can’t compete anymore which is devastating news for him and his family. 

“I thought this money could help him proceed on with his next step. This guy worked so hard to be the best athlete he could. His attitude and love for the sport was an inspiration.”

Lewis’ heart problems first came to the club’s attention after he became ill during a game against Salford City last month. Unfortunately treatment didn’t solve the issue and cardiologists advised that he would have to retire from professional football. 

He joined the club in 2019 following a loan spell from Blackburn Rovers and made 69 appearances for the Bluebirds, many as captain, and was instrumental in the club’s promotion to the EFL last season as National League champions.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball