A MONTH of football matches to raise thousands of pounds for charity is about to kick off.
Football For Cancer (FFC) is back with the first game, in honour of two much-loved men, at Portchester FC on Thursday night.
FFC began in 2008 when DJ Raymond Ogilvie, from Buckland, lost his cousin Samantha Wray to cancer.
Anxious to do something in her memory he put out a call to friends to take part in a football and was so inundated he set up a tournament.
It has been growing ever since and, to date, has raised more than £200,000.
Gavin Stockley, FFC trustee, said: ‘We are delighted to be officially launching this year’s FFC tournament with our first big game honouring the lives of Jon Hankey and Dave Kilbride.
‘Each year we aim to better the previous year in respect of the funds raised and we have a huge task this year, following the tremendous success of 2014, when upwards of £55,000 was passed to the great people at Naomi House.
‘We will be raising funds so that we can deliver directly from source to help where necessary within our community.
‘In 2013, FFC raised enough funds to honour all the patient grants given by Macmillan Cancer Support in the previous year to our local area, postcodes PO1 to PO17.
‘Now, in essence, we can look to deliver these funds directly as opposed to via the likes of Macmillan, which feels amazingly rewarding.’
Kick-off for the first match is at 7.30pm but gates open at 6.30pm.
The clubhouse will be open with FFC merchandise for sale – including hoodies, T-shirts, mugs, pens and wristbands.
Players are also being immortalised in sticker albums.
Gavin added: ‘Our matches our always family-friendly fun events and we would encourage all our supporters to attend what is bound to be another fun and emotional evening’s entertainment.’
To find out more go to ffcevents.com.
Football For Cancer match fixtures
All teams are named in memory of lost loved ones:
April 9 - Fareham Town FC, Palmerston Drive. KO 7pm. Janet Golding v WD Fowler.
April 13 – Moneyfields FC Moneyfield Avenue, Portsmouth. KO 7.30pm. Wendy Beckwith v Richard Goodall.
April 19 – Fleetlands FC, Fareham Road, Gosport, KO 10.30am. Alistair (Kiwi) Walker v Ray Martin.
April 19 – Fleetlands FC, Fareham Road, Gosport. Loser of match one v loser of match 2. KO 1pm.
April 20 – AFC Portchester, Cranleigh Road, KO 7.30pm. Winner of match 1 v winner of match 2
April 26, Petersfield Town FC, Love Lane KO 10.30am. Loser of match 3 v loser of match 4
April 26 – Petersfield Town FC, KO 1pm.
Winner of match 3 v winner of match 4
May 3 – Fareham Town FC, Cams Alder grand final. KO to be announced.