Wrighty's tribute to Hare

SPEEDWAY: Arsenal goalkeeper Richard Wright took a break from preparing for Saturday's FA Cup final to pay a special tribute to paralysed speedway rider Lawrence Hare.

By Elvin King

ARSENAL goalkeeper Richard Wright took a break from preparing for Saturday's FA Cup final to pay a special tribute to paralysed speedway rider Lawrence Hare.

The former Ipswich custodian used to ride grass-track with Hare when he was a schoolboy.

Wright is to donate a host of sought-after items to boost the special fund being organised by Mike Western and Lynn ????? in conjunction with the Evening Star.

He is providing a signed goalkeeping jersey, while his Arsenal team mate Tony Adams has signed one of his shirts. David Seaman has signed a pair of goalkeeping gloves.

Wright has also arranged for all the Arsenal players to sign a special Gunners shirt. He has also been promised a signed shirt by Charlton player Graham Stuart and has two specially signed CD's from top group Jamiroquai.

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"Graham is a big speedway fan like me," said Wright, who watched Ipswich Evening Star Witches home match against Eastbourne two weeks ago.

"Lawrence is a first class guy and I wish him and his family all the best.

"My brother Stuart and Lawrence's brother Stewart rode motor bikes and I used to join in.

"I got to know the two lads again a couple of years or so ago. I was so disappointed when I heard the news about Lawrence.

"His never-say-die approach to life came through on the track and this is why he was such a big favourite everywhere he rode."

Wright plans to make a special meeting for Lawrence that is planned for Exeter Speedway on May 20 and also to visit the rider in hospital when the football seasons ends.

"We are flying into Cardiff this Friday and flying out after the game on Saturday," explained Wright, who has played in most rounds of Arsenal's FA Cup run this season with Seaman on the bench.

"I won't be able to visit Lawrence in Newport hospital, but Stuart is going along on Friday before watching the game.

"I am still waiting to hear if I will be playing or not."

Wright's collection of goodies should raise a considerable sum and the aim is to raise £100,000 locally.

Already £10,000 has been raised at collections and events around the country and separate to the Star fund, while Wright's England team mate David Beckham offered his support to Hare through the Evening Star last week.