Published Friday 25th November 2016

A card-playing fundraiser has gone to the Moon and back to donate thousands of pounds to his Hospice.

Eighty six-year-old Albert ‘Albie’ Phipps has saved up eight years’ worth of winnings from his Phat card group and handed it over to Bartestree-based St Michael’s.

Together with winnings from fellow members, the donated total is an impressive £10,000.

To mark the handover, a surprise party was thrown for Albert at the Moon Inn at Mordiford, where he plays four times a week.

‘I’ve never been so shocked,’ he said.

‘People don’t realise the pleasure I get from donating the money.

‘Many years ago, my brother was dying of cancer down in Wales. A doctor came down from St Michael’s to see him. He said he would drive down to see him whenever he wanted.

‘From then on, it was always going to be St Michael’s I donated to.’

Albert said the fundraising started with a £35 donation, which was put in by himself and three other Phat players.

‘We said whatever amount was on the table at the end we would give to the Hospice, and it’s gone from there,’ he added.

‘I won’t be stopping, though. I’ll carry on putting money in the pot for St Michael’s.’

Family and friends from Wales, where Albert is originally from, were invited to the packed get-together by the Moon’s landlady, Karen Davies and her husband, Alan.

They put on a buffet, and a cake was presented to ‘Albie’.

‘Every time Albert wins, he just puts the money back in the pot,’ said Karen.

‘It was a great evening. He had no idea.

‘There was a wonderful turnout, too. The pub was full.

‘We can have as many as 15 people playing Phat. They used to play at the Yew Tree in Dormington, but when that closed they met here.’

Phat is played by four players sitting in two partnerships.

The aim is to score points by winning tricks containing valuable cards.

Each game lasts about 20 minutes, although groups at the Moon often spend many hours playing.

Ruth Denison, the Hospice’s Director of Income and Marketing, attended the party, along with three St Michael’s Trustees.

‘St Michael’s Hospice is built on the support of local people, and we would like to give a heartfelt thank you to Albert, and all the other Phat players, for this wonderful gesture, built up over a number of years,’ she said.

‘It’s also great that Albert has pledged to continue his support for us. We’re very grateful.’