Charity football tournament is ‘fitting tribute’ to Seven Kings teen

Harrish Pillai, 18

Harrish Pillai, 18 - Credit: Archant

A charity football tournament is due to launch in honour of a teenager who died after battling cancer.

The Harrish Cup was set up by the family and friends of Ilford County High School student Harrish Pillai, 18, from Seven Kings, who died on Boxing Day last year after he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Harrish’s family have already raised nearly £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust after Harrish’s sister Sophie set up a JustGiving page asking people to make a donation to the charity instead of buying flowers for Harrish.

The family wants the event, which will also support blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, to raise awareness of bone marrow donation in the South Asian community.

Harrish’s dad Hari said: “It’s the first time we have done anything like this and we want to carry on doing this every year in memory of our son – he was very passionate about football.

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“At the same time it’s about raising awareness and getting people saving lives. If there were more people coming forward it could have saved our son’s life – people should open their eyes.”

There will be crossbar challenges, face painting, henna art and food on offer alongside the football tournament at Powerleague, Forest Road, Hainault, which kicks off at 12.30pm on Sunday, July 12.

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Harrish’s mum Leela said: “We want to thank everyone that has contributed so far – we never imagined that we would raise this much already.

“This is what Harrish would have wanted because he was a very charitable person and we thought that it would be a fitting tribute to him, especially with his birthday being in July.”

Harrish, an Arsenal fan and aspiring doctor, played football with friend Sanish Sambasivan, who helped set up the competition.

Sanish said: “He was very inspiring – he was always smiling and everyone wanted to be on his team.”

He added: “I want to thank Powerleague for giving us a massive discount with the pitches.”

For more information and to register a team visit

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