Siblings' tribute to Sheffield United's Maddy Cusack

  • Video report by Chris Dawkes

The siblings of Maddy Cusack have paid tribute to their "funny and inspiring" sister following the Sheffield United player's sudden death.

Midfielder Cusack, the Blades' longest serving player, died at her home in Derbyshire on 20 September at the age of 27. Her death is not being treated as suspicious.

Speaking exclusively to ITV News, Cusack's younger sister, Olivia, described her death as "extremely difficult".

But she said the family had taken great comfort in the support of fans, both in person and on social media.

She said: "Supporters that have reached out to us on Facebook, or any social media platforms and shared their stories and interacted with us on there...we can take comfort in that to see how she impacted other people."

She added: "She had a drive for success which I found really inspiring. Obviously football was her life, a massive part of her life since she was small. But there was also more to her than football. She was extremely funny and caring."

Maddy Cusack. Credit: PA

Shortly after Cusack's death, the family announced plans to set up a football foundation in her honour, aimed at encouraging girls to take up the sport.

They are now raising money to support its creation, with an online crowdfunder having gathered over £8,000 of its £10,000 target. 

Cusack's brother Richard said that the foundation was a way for the family to cope with her death, adding that the "best way" to honour his sisters' legacy was to "inspire young girls to play football".

Her younger sister Olivia said the inspiration came from a vigil held in Cusack's memory.

She said: "We had a vigil set up and we came into contact with a little girl called Maddison.

"She expressed she was inspired by Maddy and explained she had already met Maddy previously. She had actually decided to change her name to Maddy.

"That was kind of a turning point where we decided where we wanted to go with (the foundation)."

Meeting Maddison was a "real-world" inspiration for the family according to her brother as they "could see the difference (the foundation) would make".

In addition to their online crowd-funder, they are planning an upcoming Christmas raffle to add additional funds for the foundation.

Christmas “was always such a magical time for the family”, according to Olivia, always giving them “a nice excuse to get everyone back together under one roof”. 

She added having a Christmas raffle felt fitting, and “was a nice way to give back to the people who have supported us”.

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