A charity organiser has put together a ‘celebrity’ football match in aid of the Sussex Cancer Fund after one of his work colleagues was diagnosed with cancer.
Chris Leaney, 36, has put together two squads to play in Worthing this weekend which include a number of local football legends, and celebrities, including X Factor star Che Chesterman and The Only Way is Essex’s Dan Osborne.
Players include Portsmouth legends Guy Butter, Paul Walsh, Linvoy Primus, Lee Bradbury, and Alan Knight MBE.
Chris has been raising the money following his colleague’s diagnosis, and is hoping to raise £1,000 for the fund, which has been supporting cancer patients across Sussex since 1981.
He said: “I have always been involved in local football and charity work, and originally I played for a team in Lewes. A couple of years ago, we were challenged to a game and the first one developed from there. I was partly inspired to make it a regular thing.
“It is a surreal moment when you are sat in the dressing room and you are sat with these players. You do sometimes think, can I get a photo?”
“I am very excited about it. I am always nervous on the morning up until the match, but usually by half-time I can sort of stand back and admire what we have been able to do.”
Chris said he was ‘delighted’ to have had help along the way with a number of family friends coming on board, including an agent called Iain Wood who was able to get reality stars Dan and Che involved, along with a host of football players from Portsmouth along to Brighton.
He also wished to thank Worthing FC chairman George Dowell, who has allowed them to hold the event at the ground in Woodside Road, Worthing.
He added: “The most nerve-wracking part when organising is within about three weeks of the game, and you are waiting for people to confirm they are going to be involved, You know it has the potential to be great if you get everyone on board, so you just want it to go well and have a great game.
“The chairman, George, has helped us out in a big way. We had an issue booking a pitch that wasn’t being worked on or resurfaced for the new season, and when we got in touch with Worthing FC, George could not do enough for us.”
The match will take place on Sunday July 10 at the ground at 2pm, with gates open from 1pm. Tickets are £5 each and children under 10 go in for free.
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