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Former Clarets hospitality manager stole £3,000 charity cash
10:30am Saturday 20th October 2012 in News
A FORMER Burnley Football Club hospitality manager stole almost £3,000 in charity cash raised for the hospital unit which cared for her premature grandson.
Tracy Goddard, 36, organised the glittering Turf Moor charity event, backed by Clarets players, to raise cash for Burnley General Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
She wanted to thank staff for nursing her grandson Olly James Dickson who was born 16 weeks premature, weighing just 24 ounces, last year.
Burnley Magistrates Court heard Goddard, who later resigned her job, never passed the money on and used it to pay off her own debts.
Goddard, of Melville Street, Burnley, admitted theft and was given 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay the rest of the money to the hospital at £20 a week.
The club helped her to organise a fundraiser at the ground in November, with players including Jay Rodriguez, Martin Paterson and Brian Jensen donating kit to be auctioned.
The event raised £2,954 for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Burnley General Hospital.
Instead Goddard started to dip into it as she faced financial problems and had soon spent it all.
Earlier this year she rang the hospital and admitted what she had done.
Andrew Robinson, prosecuting, said: “She was employed by Burnley Football Club and was in charge of some of the hospitality.
“After her grandson was born prematurely she approached the club to help organise a charity event for the neonatal unit at Burnley General Hospital.
“The event raised £3,000 with various people giving up time and doing things to help.
“The money was then passed on to her to pay the hospital, but the money was never passed on to the hospital.”
Goddard, who was employed by the club for six years, said since contacting the hospital she had been paying them £100 a month and had so far paid £300 to them in total.
The court heard that Goddard had fully intended to give the money to the hospital, but had started taking a bit out of it when she was struggling with other bills.
Sara Lyle, defending, said that at the time Goddard was close to eviction from her house and had bailiffs knocking on her door over unpaid council tax.
Miss Lyle said: “Her circumstances have changed since then, she has a new partner and has found new employment.
“At the time of the offence she had her three children, aged, 13, 17 and 19 living with her, as well as her grandson.
“It shows how sorry she felt that she contacted the hospital to explain what had happened.”
The court heard that she had since got new employment.
Sentencing, District Judge Nicholas Sanders said: “You are not the normal career criminal we often get before the courts. You made a stupid mistake which you then compounded and it got worse.
“I am quite satisfied you did not take the money intending to spend it but that is the way it happened.
“I hope you pay the money back sooner if you are able to, you more than anyone know the value to which that money can be put. The sooner you pay it back the sooner the hospital can be using it to help other children.”
A spokesman for Burnley Football Club said once they had established guilt they gave Goddard the opportunity to resign, which she did.