24-hour Barkingside football match makes thousands for charity

A huge roar erupted as a day-long football match involving hundreds of players came to a triumphant end on Sunday.

Dozens of teams came to the Astroturf pitches behind Redbridge Sports and Leisure Centre, Forest Road, Barkingside, to dribble, tackle and volley their way through a series of matches.

The 24-hour football tournament was all in the name of charity, with money raised for both Haven House Children’s Hospice, High Road, Woodford Green and the Down’s Syndrome Association.

The event was spearheaded by Newbury Forest FC chairman John Hassan.

About 25 players from the club’s teams were on the pitch at one time or another throughout the 24-hours, as they pitted themselves against a host of other teams, including sides specially formed for the day.

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Mr Hassan, who himself played for 10 hours, said: “There were guys hobbling around – we didn’t realise how much chaffing there would be!

“There was lots of cream being put on our thighs and everyone was shattered afterwards.”

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The tournament kicked off at 3pm on Saturday, with players even competing in the middle of the night.

About �5,000 was raised for the two good causes through sponsorship and donations across the two days.

The event was also host to a youth football tournament, and entertainment for children including bouncy castles.

A gymnastics troupe and singers helped create a party atmosphere, while food cooked on a barbecue was lapped up by visitors.

A raffle and silent auction saw goodies including signed West Ham and Chelsea shirts up for grabs, while the Ilford Recorder promotions team helped welcome the crowds.

The club held its annual awards after the tournament had ended.

Mr Hasan, 32, of Chadwell Heath, said: “It was really good.

“The youth tournament helped bring a lot of people along and everyone was telling me it was really good natured.

“We had music playing as well and that helped.”

He added: “We will 100 per cent be doing this again.

“We’re already planning and we know from this year’s experience how we can make a lot more money for charity. We know we can make it even better.”

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