Presenters from Preston’s leading radio station defeated a team of celebrities and ex-pros yesterday, in a charity football match at Bamber Bridge FC’s QED Stadium.
Yesterday afternoon, a team of celebrities including actor’s from top soaps such as Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Doctors, as well as ex-professional players, arrived at the QED Stadium on Brownedge Road to face a Rock FM team led out by presenters Darren Spence and Tom Green. The celebrity team tour the country throughout the season to raise funds for their charity, Once Upon a Smile,which was co-founded by actors Danny Miller and Daniel Jillings, whilst Rock FM were playing in aid of Cash for Kids, the umbrella brand for Bauer Radio’s network of local charities which operate across 21 areas within the UK.
During the warm up, crowds began to fill the stands, and fans hugged the barriers around the pitch in search of autographs and photos with the TV stars. As the 3pm kick off approached, it was thought that the celebrity team would be forced to play without their goalkeeper, but he emerged from the changing rooms as Shudokan Aikido entertained the crowds.
Despite being a charity match, it was evident that both teams wanted to win at all costs, with the celebrity All Stars’ pride at stake and the Rock FM team keen to shrug off the ‘No Stars’ tag that their colleague and compere Danny Bee had affectionately labelled them with. To everyone’s shock, the Rock FM team took an early lead, and despite conceding an equaliser just after half-time, they managed to take the lead again in the second-half and add a third before full-time to round off a convincing victory.
Over 400 advanced tickets were sold before the game, and many more supporters turned up on the day, and all the money will be donated to the teams’ respective charities. Once Upon a Smile will use the money to help support families who have suffered the loss of a parent or child from a terminal or long-term illness, and they work closely with hospitals, hospices, schools and other charities and accept referrals from these. You can find out more about the work they do here. Cash for Kids deliver initiatives for sick and underprivileged children in Lancashire communities, to benefit local children and give the neediest a better and brighter future. Details of where their money goes can be found here.
Neil Wainwright, ex-professional footballer for Sunderland and Darlington and patron of Once Upon a Smile, was pleased with the game despite the result: “It was a fantastic day as always with our charity team. We play many games throughout the summer and autumn months for many different charities, as well as our own. I’m lucky enough to be a patron of our charity and we’re hoping for it to grow and grow in the coming years, and events like this certainly help.
“Today was supported and organised very well. The turnout was superb and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.”
Darren Spence, Presenter for Magic 999 and Rock FM, said: “A massive thanks to all the spectators, volunteers, sponsors and players, and to the club for letting us play the match and raise much-needed funds for local children. Without them, our Cash For Kids team couldn’t help those that really need and appreciate it.”
Cash For Kids Charity Manager , Nikki Thompson, said: “It was a truly wonderful family day that has raised lots of money for children right here in Lancashire. A massive thank you to our celebrity guests who gave up their precious free time to play for these two wonderful charities and Bamber Bridge FC, especially George and Dave, for their hospitality. Thanks as well to all the volunteers who made today happen, and to Shudokan Aikido and Fever Dance school for entertaining the crowds. A rematch for the Macs Bar trophy will definitely be on the cards next year!”
Check out this video of the teams being led out onto the pitch, and our slideshow of photos from the game: