News | Blyth Spartans season ticket holder raising money for NHS

Blyth Spartans fan Mark Deeks has struck the right note with an ear-catching way of helping the NHS in the current crisis.

Deeks, 42, a season ticket holder at Croft Park, has taken a tune revered in the North East and rearranged it for the piano – and it has already proven a hit online. 

Blyth-based Mark has come up with a stirring new version of Mark Knopfler’s Local Hero. So good, it has been endorsed by the singer-songwriter himself. 

Indeed, it is a tune most North East football fans will be fully aware of as it is the music that leads Newcastle United onto the pitch at St James’ Park. 

Now, Deeks is putting his piano skills to good use by raising money for the NHS as they fight bravely on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I am a professional piano player and have been playing the tune at a variety of events for many years,” Deeks explained.

“These have dried up with the current crisis and my initial thoughts were to try and raise a few quid by putting up a ‘Pop Up Piano Concert’ on Facebook. 

“It seemed popular and a friend who works in a local hospital asked if I could stream a few tunes to his staff room. 

“It was well-received by NHS staff and there are now over 1200 staff who listen every Thursday, including some on the frontline.” 

Newcastle United, Blyth Spartans, and others have promoted the tune on their social media pages, which has helped raise over £1,400 since Sunday. 

Deeks is fundraising on behalf of his charity, ‘Sing United Foundation’, whose logo is in Spartans’ Green and White colours.

He added: “BBC Newcastle got hold of what was happening and have helped promote it, especially my version of the ‘Local Hero’ tune.

“I had to ask Mark Knopfler’s management for permission to use the music and amazingly they came back with a yes within 36 hours. 

“I was then able to go ahead and establish a ‘Just Giving’ page to help the NHS and we’ve raised £1,400 since Sunday. It’s hardly Captain Tom territory but it all helps I guess!”

While his love for the piano came at the age of five, Deeks is quite a recent Spartans convert but has been won over by the famous Blyth Spirit.

“This is my first year as a season ticket holder, although I have watched some games previously,” he said. 

“It hasn’t been the best of seasons I suppose as we’ve struggled but I genuinely love it at Croft Park. 

“I’ve been a football fan all my life and used to watch Newcastle but non-league football at Blyth’s level is the true essence of the game.”

To donate to Mark’s wonderful cause, please click the following link:

You can also donate by downloading the Local Hero tune here:

Drop Mark a follow, like or share on social media at…



To paraphrase what Blyth fans say, repeating the ancient slogan of Sparta, and relevant in our current times fighting against COVID-19: ‘No retreat, no surrender…that is Spartan law!’

Posted by BSAFC Admin