The event has evolved over the years. The first year was primarily a celebrity and ex-professional football match and the charity then added elements of fun for all of the family to make it more appealing to a wider range of the community. For the last two years, there has been a Junior Football Competition played in the morning and this year proved to be the most successful yet.
27 teams, made up of under 6, under 7 and under 8 teams from as far away as Cambourne and Sawbridgeworth played in 5 different leagues with Bishops Stortford clubs winning most the leagues. “With nearly 200 youngsters and their parents and coaches, it was a rather hectic but very enjoyable morning” says Bob Linwood, founder and trustee of the REAL charity formed in memory of his son Ethan. “We have to run it like a military operation but it worked really well again and the feedback received from coaches and their parents was amazing. I can definitely see this particular aspect of the day growing”.
Throughout the day, various activities and attractions took place, with face painting, a circus school, the inflatable village and hotshot games all proving popular. Morag Linwood, Ethans Mum, comments “Our friends and family came together to bake cakes, help us organise the day and then unselfishly gave their time on the day to help man stalls, become stewards and various other tasks that helped us concentrate on the smooth running of the day. It wouldn’t be possible to hold this day without the support of those people and we are incredibly grateful. We would also like to thank the team at the football club for their support and especially the Diamond Ladies who once again gave their time to help with car parking and traffic control”.
Following the Junior Competition, there were two further games on the main pitch. The first was the annual match between Ethan’s school mates and his former club, Thaxted Rangers. This year proved a very close affair with the score being 1-1 at the final whistle, with Thaxted Rangers winning on penalties. “It’s fantastic that all of Ethans old friends are still happy to turn out for this match. It was a bit of a reality check to see how much they have grown and they will all soon be joining colleges, universities and going to work but they have all committed to come back next year, come what may” said bob.
The other match was the annual Ethans All Stars versus a Saffron Walden Legends team. Local dance group Fusion Dance Company performed one of their routines shortly before the teams took to the field. Lee Barnard, former Spurs and Southampton player and Floyd Croll former Wigan player joined the All Stars this year in what proved a fairly one sided affair and the All Stars ending up 7-1 winners!
Overall, the day was another massive success with the Junior Football Competition in the morning being especially popular. The family decided not to charge an admission fee this year as they wanted to focus on providing a fun day for the community. “We took the decision that the success of this event wouldn’t be measured on money raised for this year’s event” says Bob. “We are still calculating costs but the income from the raffle was outstanding so despite the expectations of just covering our costs, we think we will have made at least a four-figure sum@
Bob continues “We were also proud to make a £1,000 donation to the Bobby Bravery fund who are raising money to support the family of Bobby Hughes following his tragic car accident. We were away at the time it happened and only found out about it recently. The football club were holding a fund raising event on the Saturday night and we felt that it would be appropriate for the charity to help the family in some small way by making this donation. This exactly the type of help we can give local people and their families and follows on from our donation to the Save Our Maddi Appeal last year.”
REAL hold several fundraising events throughout the year. Here are the next two coming up in 2017
The REAL Rally – 17th/18th/19th May 2017*
On Wednesday 17th May 2017, the REAL Rally will be heading off from Essex for a three-day tour of Europe, taking in overnight stops at Bruges in Belgium and Le Touquet-Paris-Plage in France before arriving back in England on the Friday for a well-earned rest.
All monies raised will go towards REALfriends, supporting local bullied children, and REALexperience – creating apprentice opportunities for 14-16 year olds in the vehicle repair industry in conjunction with AutoRaise, the Vehicle Repair Industry charity.
REAL Golf Day – 13th July 2017 at Saffron Walden Golf Club
Around 100 golfers will converge at this beautiful course to enjoy a full society day of golf. The day includes refreshments on arrival, 18 holes of golf, a three-course meal and charity auction. If you would like to enter as an individual or as a team, please contact REAL through their website: www.realforethan.co.uk
All proceeds of the day go towards our REALsport initiative, REALgolf. We have teamed up with Saffron Walden Golf Club to create REALgolf. Its sole intention is to expose the game of golf to the younger community and demonstrate that it is not an elitist sport. Hopefully, a few of those will enjoy the experience, maybe show an aptitude for the game and decide to continue playing at their local facility.
For more information, please contact us.