Football gala to aid sick children

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Junior football clubs from around the region descended on Wetherby recently to play a charity gala in support of Clifford-based Martin House Children’s Hospice.

Clubs from Harrogate, Wetherby, Knaresborough, Boroughbridge and north Leeds took part in an action packed morning of quick fire football.

Footballing legend Gareth Southgate kindly gave up his Saturday morning to help referee the event and to present Martin House with a cheque for £500.

“This is such a great initiative, I was delighted to support it,” said Gareth.

“Not only has the friendly league provided extra developmental football for local kids, they also support the cause of Martin House.”

“We are delighted to have support from local junior football clubs,“ said Carol Devine of Martin House.

“We need to raise nearly £5m each year to be able to provide care and support, free of charge, to children and young people with a  life-limiting illness.

“You can’t get much better support than 120 children and their families working hard to promote our cause and raise funds for us.”

The local clubs came together this season in the newly established Martin House Friendly League (MHFL) - a series designed to expand football for local children and support Martin House.

The League completed its first highly successful season a few weeks ago.

“We set it up to create more football for local kids, combined with a bit of social responsibility as well.” said MHFL Treasurer Jane Wilcock.

“And we’ve succeeded with an amazing 110 matches completed, 3300 minutes of extra football played and nearly 500 goals scored.

“We are very grateful for everyone who has helped and supported us over the season and very pleased that Gareth is such an active supporter of our work.”

Wetherby Tigers star Aidan Collins said: “It’s great fun. We enjoyed the gala and Gareth Southgate was a good ref too.”

In addition to the £500 paid on 15 June the league expect gala proceeds to be another £300-£400 making a total of nearly £900 donated this season.

Some individual clubs have also followed the league ethos and run their own fundraising through refreshment sales at their matches.