The league, its member clubs and the non-league football community were left reeling on Monday September 12th 2016, when Shaw Lane player Wilkinson passed at the age of just 24 following a League Cup tie against Brighouse Town.
This incident, combined with the Northern Premier League looking to establish a new charity partner for the coming season and the next three years, prompted Officials to look towards working with an organisation that could possibly help to reduce the chances of further such tragedies in the future.
Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), whose stated aim is to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research and supporting affected families, was the obvious choice for the League to engage with. It was also the preferred choice of Daniel’s parents Barry and Gillian Wilkinson. It is the specific intention of both the League and CRY that the partnership will also perpetuate the memory of Daniel.
Gillian said: "We are extremely pleased with the charity partnership between the Northern Premier League and Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in memory of our son, Daniel Wilkinson.
"It is vitally important to us that Daniel continues to be remembered. We chose to set up The Daniel Wilkinson Foundation as a charity so that we could fund heart screenings through CRY and also donate life-saving defibrillators primarily to grass-roots sports teams.
"The NPL’s promotion of the charity and CRY’s support has been invaluable to us since Daniel’s passing and their partnership, along with The Daniel Wilkinson Foundation, will continue to save lives."
The initiative was introduced to Northern Premier League clubs at the AGM in Blackpool last weekend, and it is hoped that all member clubs, players and fans will support CRY and make the partnership a meaningful success.
There will also be opportunities to support The Daniel Wilkinson Foundation which, along with CRY, works tirelessly to raise awareness of this problem and reduce risks to young people in the future.