Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

A charity football match has raised an amazing £20,000 for worthy causes. Photography: Paul Currie

Ewood Park recently hosted the inaugural Blackburn Rovers Community Trust Football Aid in the Community charity match – Blackburn Rovers Home v Blackburn Rovers Away.

The evening gave Rovers fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play alongside, and be managed by, former Rovers players including Danny Graham, David Dunn, Derek Fazackerley, Howard Gayle and Mark Atkins – all under the floodlights of Ewood Park.

Money generated from winning bids for a place in the team, ticket sales and via the trust’s Just Giving page, helped raised much needed funds to support Tony Parkes and his family, amid spiralling care costs following the club legend’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s in 2019. The event also supported local community projects, such as Remember the Rovers, which supports people with dementia, as well as other initiatives aimed at tackling social isolation among the elderly.

The response to the event was overwhelming, with support from local businesses and fans alike. Greenthumb Lawn Treatment Services were the main event sponsors, with other businesses generously supporting the event too – LCC scaffolding, The Ref Stop, McDonald’s, Blades Building & Roofing, Lune Valley Pods and Norwest Medical Services.

Martin Winters, Senior Business Support Manager from Blackburn Rovers Community Trust explained: “We were blown away with the support we received from Rovers fans across the country and how people came together to make the event a success.

“We wanted to raise as much money as possible for worthwhile causes, whilst ensuring the fans, who won a place in the team were rewarded with a professional, once-in-a- lifetime, match-day experience. The participants used the first team dressing rooms, with their unique match-day kit waiting for them. They then walked out of the famous tunnel to a roaring crowd and the flash of cameras before gracing the hallowed turf for what was a very competitive game of football.

“Feedback from the day has been excellent, with players and spectators enjoying their time at Ewood Park, which helped raise over £20,000! We want to thank everyone for their support, and we look forward to Football Aid in the Community 2023.”

Taking part in the match, sponsor Tyler Stevenson from Greenthumb, said: “The atmosphere was electric, lining up in the tunnel with Derek Fazackerley and Mark Atkins giving final instructions to the two teams and then running out, it really was an authentic pro-footballer experience.

“The 600 strong crowd really got into the spirit of things and created a great atmosphere. The Rovers legends were brilliant, making sure we had a great time. Earlier on that day I’d been aerating and scarifying customers’ lawns so I went from groundsman to pro-footballer in a matter of hours. On behalf of all the players and sponsors I want to thank the trust for all their hard work making the night such a great experience. I can’t wait for next year’s event!”



Tedd Walmsley

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