FRIENDS and family of late Saltcoats soldier Derek 'Fergie' Ferguson have organised a charity match in his honour.

And one of the organisers has said it has been an honour to organise the event in his memory - and that "he would have loved it".

Fergie passed away last May, aged just 32, after sudden heart conditions took hold out of the blue.

Only days prior, he had been in Seville as his beloved football club Glasgow Rangers played in the Europa League final.

He returned to see his side lift the Scottish Cup trophy and it was then he started to complain about what felt like heartburn.

When his dad gave him something for heartburn, it did not help - and a day later, he phoned his mother to tell her he couldn't breathe.

That day would sadly be his last - as it turned out that Fergie had a tear in his heart.

He was a much loved man who grew up in the local area, delivering papers as a youngster before becoming a milk boy, and later joining the army, serving his country for six years.

He eventually stepped away from the armed forces, due to an injury he obtained after being shot on service in Afghanistan.

Since his passing, his friends and family have worked to donate to charities in his memory - and encourage younger people to get their heart checked.

That is why this charity match has been arranged in his honour, to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and keep Fergie's memory alive.

His childhood friend Donnie Clark, and close pal and former army colleague David Upex, have worked together to put on an Old Firm charity football match, which will take place at Winton Park in Ardrossan on Sunday, July 16, at 12pm.

The pair grew up together with Fergie in Saltcoats, where they and other firends made so many memories with Fergie. Donnie took the time to explain to the Herald how much they all loved their time together.

He said: "Fergie, our friend Mark and I went to the Rangers games every week together and have so many funny memories to look back on - especially our famous couch in the pub antics.

"David and Fergie served in the Army together in the second battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland since 2006.

"They both served in Afghanistan and travelled the world and back home together. After the army Fergie spent almost seven years working along side his other best friend Colin doing plumbing and heating and then they went on to renovate homes together.

"Colin, Mark, Fergie, Fergie’s brother Raymond and myself were lucky to have had the chance to go to Seville together to follow Rangers the week before he passed where we made memories that will last a lifetime."

While he went onto explain exactly why this charity match has now been organised.

Donnie told the Herald: "Since Fergie sadly passed last year we have always considered holding some sort of fundraising event in his memory and being football fans it made sense to hold a charity football game.

"David is a Celtic fan and I’m a Rangers fan- so it’s been a laugh talking about going head to head and organising our teams.

"Fergie was a huge football fan and loved rangers we know he would have loved to have seen this game.

"This is definitely something we would like to do every year for Fergie to keep his memory alive with the hopes of fundraising for a different charity each time."

And for his friends and family, it means so much to be able to honour Fergie in this way.

Donnie added: "Words can’t describe how much it means. The response we’ve had is overwhelming, this is such a huge team effort with so many people helping organising different things.

"We’re so grateful for everyone that’s been in contact to help out. The community has really came together for the event.

"We would just like to thank everyone for their help and donations so far, we never expected the response we’ve had. Its been a huge team effort.

"It’s so lovely to see how loved Fergie was by so many people, he was always the first to help anyone in need and always put others first. In his own words 'everybody loves Fergie'.

"The teams are made up of close family and friends to Fergie, I think everyone who’s playing feels honoured to do so for him.

"The charity we are fundraising for means a lot to Fergie’s family, we really hope to raise awareness about heart problems in young people and encourage more young people to get checked out."

Fundraising ahead of the event is already well underway, with the team of organisers already smashing their initial target of £500.

Their gofundme page already has £1,000 of donations, with a further £1,500 donation from the Stevenston Cross Keys Rangers Supporters Club still to be added.

To make a donation, the gofundme page can be found online at and the events Facebook page can be found here for more details.

Donations can also be made at the match on Sunday, July 16, where entry will cost £2 with kids entering for free.

There will also be a number of donation buckets at Winton Park with affles, bakes sales and much more taking place throughout the day.