THE family of Lee Rigby – and several big-name footballers – will be at a fundraising event raising charity cash in memory of the murdered serviceman.
The Lee Rigby Memorial Cup will return on Easter Monday at AFC Portchester.
The clash between Portsmouth and Rangers legends will raise money for the Lee Rigby Foundation and the Rangers Benevolent Fund.
Fans will be treated to a star-studded line-up, with Pompey heroes Hermann Hreidarsson, Sean Davis, Linvoy Primus and Svetoslav Todorov, and Rangers icons Colin Hendry and Michael Mols – plus Mark Hateley, who played for both sides. There will also be some ex-Southampton players there, including Gregory Vignal.
Wayne Shaw, who found instant fame when he ate a pie on the subs’ bench while playing for Sutton in the FA Cup this year, is set to make an appearance too.
The match is being organised by Gary Nicholl and Marlene Godwin, from Hamble.
Gary said: ‘Last year went really well and AFC Portchester reckons there were about 1,900 fans there.
‘The reason we are doing it again is to help the Lee Rigby Foundation. The more fans that come, the more money we raise for the charity.’
Marlene added: ‘Portchester is going to be a sea of red, white and blue. We want to see everybody bring flags, no matter what team you support.’
The foundation offers countryside retreats for bereaved and traumatised families of forces personnel, active duty personnel and veterans.
Fusilier Lee Rigby, 25, was murdered near his barracks in Woolwich, south east London, on May 22, 2013. His family will attend the game.
A dinner and auction will take place after the match at the Marriott Hotel, with Rangers directors’ box tickets and a 1972 Cup Winner’s Cup Final top up for grabs. Other items have been donated, by Pompey and Southampton.
A free fun day will take place at the Seagull pub in Portchester. Organiser Tony Hewitt, founder and coach of Portchester Football Academy, said: ‘There will be a barbecue, raffle, football shootout game in the garden, a bouncy castle and more.’
The cash raised from the fun day will be split between the Lee Rigby Foundation and the Oakley Waterman Caravan Foundation, the latter being important to Tony, having helped his disabled son.
Game tickets are £12 for adults and £6 for children and can be bought from www.afcportchester.co.uk, The Seagull in Portchester, The Three Marines pub in Eastney or The Armed Forces Shop in Gosport. Pre-match hospitality packages and post-match dinner and auction tickets are available on 07903 301175 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.