THE first cap is the sweetest. For hockey player Alan Forsyth it came on October 19, 2015: Great Britain versus Argentina at Bisham Abbey. He scored on his debut, too, teed up by fellow Scot Chris Grassick after 28 minutes.

It wasn’t enough to prevent GB going down to a 3-2 defeat but the Paisley-born forward was up and running. Five years and a further 43 caps and 18 goals later, he is still going strong.

It was a doubly poignant day for the-then 22 year-old. His maiden GB bow fell on what would have been his grandfather’s birthday. A big influence in Forsyth’s early playing days, his mum’s dad had passed away the year before.

Given how much is wrapped up in that first cap it is perhaps surprising and undeniably commendable that Forsyth is willing to give it away. And not just that one cap.

There’s the match-worn shorts from that game, too. Another cap from his first international game at the Twickenham Stoop. His playing shirt from the time GB won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2017. Hockey sticks, a mixture of used and brand new. A stick bag, personalised Gribbid grips and an array of training kit are all in the bundle too.

One lucky person will collect the lot. In return, Forsyth asked only for a donation towards the NHS, hoping enough hockey enthusiasts would get involved to raise a few hundred pounds. Within the first 48 hours, however, he had raised more than £5500. And with the online raffle staying open until April 29, there is a decent chance his fundraising efforts will eventually break through the £10,000 mark.

Forsyth admits hockey memorabilia is nice to have but helping the nation’s doctors, nurses and hospital staff in their time of need is far more important.

“That first GB cap was a big day for me in my career,” he said. “We lost 3-2 but I scored which was an amazing feeling. And the fact that it would have been my grandpa’s birthday made it even more special for me.

“But I’ve got enough memories in my head to remember that day. I can look back on those - and the photos I’ve got - any time. I don’t need to keep all the kit to do that. It’s far better that it can go towards hopefully making a difference to the people who need it.

“I just wanted to help the NHS given everything we’re seeing all over the news and social media. Normally whenever I have a clear-out I’ll drop a bag of clothes into the local charity shop. But with them not taking anything at the moment I wondered if I did something else like this it might work instead.

“I was really thinking that maybe people at my club, Surbiton, would get involved and we could raise a few hundred quid. A few hours later I checked on my phone and it was already well over a grand and it has just continued to grow.

“I can’t believe it how well it has done. The response from everyone in hockey and beyond has been amazing.”

The large donation coming the NHS’s way at the end of the month will be long overdue. Forsyth reveals he “knows his way around a hospital” after an injury-prone childhood and then the usual aches and pains that come from being a professional sportsman.

“I told my mum I was doing it and she said that, given the amount of time I spent in A&E when I was younger, I probably owe them anyway.

“I was in a lot with cut heads and broken noses and the rest. I think when I was about seven I split my head open trying to do something daft because I thought it would be funny.

“Myself and my girlfriend have also been in our local hospital in Kingston plenty of times too with hockey injuries. And I spent nine days in the one in Tooting after getting ill. So I’ve experienced first-hand the great work that goes on in the NHS.”

The 27 year-old hopes whoever lands all his hockey kit will be able to put it good use.

“I know there have been a lot of hockey people getting involved so hopefully it can help a club or a school if they win it. There’s some decent kit in there, some of it brand news. But I’ve no real preference as to who gets it. I just wanted to try raise as much money as I could for the NHS.”

Forsyth told the Herald last year that his one remaining goal in hockey was to play in the Olympics. The decision to push the Toyko Games back a year was naturally frustrating but he has his sights set now on making sure he’s there in 2021.

“It was hard to take when they made the announcement to postpone as it was so close and we’ve put in so much hard work,” he admitted. “But it was 100 percent the right decision. There’s a new date to focus on so we’ll just work towards that one now.”

Alan’s page can be found at