Gates open 10.30am with an 11am KO Coldstream Guards v Blyth Misfits and a 2pm KO for Sun Alliance Sunderland v Sun Alliance Liverpool.
It’s expected that the TA will have displays, stands and a climbing wall as well providing hot dogs, burgers soft drinks etc.. with all proceeds going to the ABF, Blyth Spartans will also donate a proportion of any bar takings on the day.
Blyth Spartans host charity football matches in memory of fallen North East soldiers
David Black, The Journal – May 13 2011
“Two hero soldiers who died while serving with the same regiment in Afghanistan will be remembered at a special football event organised to raise vital funds for a forces’ charity.
Guardsman Michael Sweeney, 19, of Blyth, and Acting Sergeant John Amer, 30, of Sunderland, were both killed by explosive devices while serving with the Ist Battalion Coldstream Guards in Helmand Province. Now their families have joined forces with the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) to organise two separate football matches to be played at Blyth Spartans’ Croft Park ground on Saturday, May 21.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to ABF – The Soldiers’ Charity, which supports sick, injured and wounded serving soldiers, Army veterans and their families.
At 11am a team from the Coldstream Guards base in London will take on the Blyth Misfits, a collection of Michael Sweeney’s footballing friends from his home town.
Three hours later Sgt Amer will be remembered in a game played between teams from the Sun Alliance offices in Sunderland and Liverpool. It follows a similar game played last year, which was organised by colleagues of his brother Phil’s partner, Louise Hardman, who works for the insurance giant.
Separate football matches were played last year in Ashington and Liverpool to raise funds for the Soldiers’ Charity, but this year the two families worked with the ABF to arrange a joint event.
There will be a £2 minimum donation admission fee on the day and other fundraising activities are planned. The Corps of Drums of the Coldstream Guards will play before, at half time and at the end of both matches.
Guardsman Sweeney suffered fatal injuries when he stood on an improvised explosive device during a patrol in Helman Province in April last year.
Sgt Amer was killed in an explosion in November 2009 as he fought to save the life of an injured comrade in the Babaji area of Helmand.
Eric Ingram, chairman of the North East area of the ABF, said: “Both families have been absolutely fantastic and given us great support, and it has been humbling to work with them. Despite losing their sons they want to continue to work with us to help other Army personnel and you have to take you hat off to them for that. They want to keep their sons’ memories’ alive and have worked together with us to arrange these two matches at Blyth Spartans, instead of having two separate ones like last year. We hope as many people as possible will come along to support them on the day.”
Guardsman Sweeney’s family raised £12,000 for charity in his memory last year, and hope to top that total this year. His mother Kim has said: “It is terrible to lose a son, but for every soldier killed there are perhaps three or four injured and it is they who really need help. The ABF is there for them and we want to do everything we can to support the charity.”