CRITICISM is often reserved for footballers for their antics on and off the pitch, but Peter Vincenti is bucking that trend.
In a week when the Pride of Britain awards were handed out, the Rochdale midfielder proved there is still pride in the beautiful game by becoming the first recipient of the Sky Bet Football League’s Unsung Hero of the Month.
The 29-year-old, pictured right, was playing for Aldershot when a request for a signed shirt and ball came to him from Leicester City fans Julie and Neil Bradford.
Their late son, Ben Edkins, was just 25 when he succumbed to an aggressive form of muscle cancer.
Former Stevenage and Millwall man Vincenti duly obliged, personally sending off the items, leading to him becoming a patron of Edgar’s Gift, the charity set up in Ben’s memory.
It provides unique experiences or gifts to young adults aged 18-30 who are suffering from cancer. Vincenti, who has a degree in business management, has also donated tickets to watch England at Wembley, to be used as a gift for one young cancer sufferer.
The midfielder said: “They do all sorts for young adults suffering from cancer – special days out and luxury gifts, such as an iPad or a PlayStation, for those going through it. They raise money where they can. They did a cycle to all 92 Premier and Football League grounds a couple of years ago.
“They are the ones who do so much. It wasn’t any bother for me to send them a signed shirt when I was at Aldershot, but then we got in touch with each other and it went from there.
“I sent them some more signed shirts, then a few Rochdale shirts when I moved here. And, whenever we’ve played against bigger teams in pre-season or cup games, I’ll always try to get opposition shirts.
“The kit man here, Jack Northover, gives me grief because I’m always asking him to get me signed shirts from the opposing kit man to send to them!
“Footballers are in the spotlight a lot – maybe not League One footballers so much – and more often than not it’s for bad reasons. It’s brilliant what Edgar’s Gift do and they are the ones who do so much. I just like to help who I can where I can.”