Connecting Brighton and Crystal Palace Fans to Dunfanaghy Youths Girls: The Remarkable Legacy of The Robert Eaton Memorial Fund

This article appeared in the 2023 edition of the Creeslough View Magazine

Dunfanaghy Youths Girls recently received a generous donation from the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund, a charity with strong connections to the English football teams of Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace. For over two decades, the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund (REMF) has been making a profound impact on charitable causes. Set up in memory of Robert Eaton, an avid and well known Brighton and Hove Albion fan who  was tragically killed on September 11th 2001 while working On the 105th Floor, North Tower, World Trade Centre,  in New York. He was only 37 years old. Following news of his death, Brighton and Hove Albion fans were determined that his name would not be forgotten and set up the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund in his memory. They have donated £350,000 to football teams around the world. The Creeslough View spoke to Angela Ridge, robert’s sister, about  REMF and its legacy over the past two decades.


Angela, thanks so much for taking time to talk to us. Firstly, can you tell me about your brother Robert?

Rob moved to New York to work in finance  in the late 1980’s and met and subsequently married his wife Jacqui who was from New York. They lived in Manhassat in New York, until his death in 2001.


How have Brighton  and Hove Albion fans supported the  Robert Eaton Memorial Foundation?

The main charitable fundraising event has been the annual football match between the rival fans of Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion . It has been running for the last 21years and great friendships have been made over that period of time. When we had the last football match this year, it became apparent that some of the players has supported the event for those 21 years and a great comaraderie had been established between the two rival teams.

Robert Eaton

What do you think Robert would have thought about the charity set up in his name?

He would have been proud of all that had been achieved , especially that something positive had emerged from such a tragic event. I think he would also have chuckled at the thought of bringing two rival fans together!!


You were recently given an award by Brighton and Hove Albion FC

Yes. The award was given to us for raising money for some many charities over the last 21 years. It was a total surprise and a real honour to recognise all the folk that had worked so hard in fundraising and managing the charity. From the very beginning, Brighton and Hove Albion has been very supportive in many ways. The club has advertised the events when they have been coming up, it has donated Brighton kits. It has allowed us use of the hospitality areas at the stadium, free of charge – for the annual Quiz Night. It even got to the point where, for three years, the club’s chief executive Paul Barber, took managerial responsibility for the Brighton REMF team. This is not to mention that the match – including the final match – was twice staged on the hallowed turf of the American Express stadium. And that’s only scratching the surface. In later years, it ought to be noted that Crystal Palace FC also supported their REMF team in many similar ways, including insisting on a couple of Palace legends who were supposed to make 20-minute cameo appearances actually played the whole match! They’ve also supported REMF in a manner which has been amazing.

What have been the high points over the years?

It has to be the longevity of the charity which has spanned over two decades – and the good it has done on the back of such an awful event that is the high point. We have raised £350,000 and we’ve supported teams in the UK, USA, Kenya, Zambia, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand, and now we are proud to support Dunfanaghy  Youths in Ireland.

You also have Irish connections

My mother – Laura (nee)  Morrow was born in Churchtown, Dublin and lived there until her early twenties when she moved to Brighton. Her parents continued to live there until their deaths but prior to that,  the family often visited Dublin, a city which my mother held with fond memories and deep affection. Her  warmth, sense of fun and generosity to all who visited, always reminded us of a typical Irish welcome.

Is there anything you would like to say to the people of Creeslough and Dunfanaghy following your support of their club?

The members of the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund are absolutely delighted to be able to support Dunfanaghy Youths FC. We hope the money will go some way into providing new equipment for the club and enhancing the opportunities for all the team. We really look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Thanks to Angela ad REMF for their unbelievable support of Dunfanaghy Youths Girls team and their remarkable achievements over the past two decades. A big thank you also to REMF board member Alan Ware who initially contacted Dunfanaghy Youth Girls’ coach Marie Duffy about supporting the club.


This article appeared in the 2023 edition of the Creeslough View Magazine