Celeb football match to kick off fundraising for hospital appeal

Kelly Thornham News

Bradford NHS staff have picked up the pace in their football training ahead of their big clash against a team of celebrities on Sunday 14 April.

‘Team Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’ (Team BHC) – made up of doctors, nurses and NHS staff – will play Supporting Charities FC celebrities at Horsfall Stadium, Bradford. The event will raise money for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’s ‘Rays a Smile’ appeal, which launches next month, aiming to raise £250,000 to make the radiology services in Bradford more child-friendly.

Consultant histopathologist, Dr Faisal Ali, who is the hospital team captain, said: “Our training is going really well. The celebrities may have ex-professional players on their side, but we have youth and pace on our team! They’ll have to be aware that if any of our young or fast players run past them, there’s no way they will be able to catch them!”

Team BHC has players ranging from 16 to 46, with some signed up to semi-professional teams.

“We have some real hidden stars,” added Faisal. “After seeing our team, the celebs will be wondering whether they’re playing Manchester United.”

Hayley Collis, head of fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to have some fun while fundraising for our new appeal – Rays a Smile! We have staff from all over Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust playing – from board directors to doctors, nursing staff to IT technicians – we can’t wait to get on the field and have some fun.

“However, don’t be fooled that our team isn’t taking it seriously. They have been training hard and we’re looking forward to an exciting match against the celebrities with a well-deserved win for our NHS team!”

Hayley added: “I want to say a big thank you to SpaceKraft, Irwin Mitchell solicitors and Nuffield Health for sponsoring Team BHC. Their support has enabled us to fund a full team kit for our amazing NHS staff!”

Celebrities planning to play against the NHS team include actors from Emmerdale and Hollyoaks (James Hooton, Ash Palmisciano, David Kennedy) as well as TV stars and singers (Ash Stevenson, Freddie Bolt, Adam Oakley, Patrick McBride, Stephen Burke, Tom White and Tiny Tim Adventures). Ex professional footballers will also play, such as Lee Duxbury, David Norris, Craig Armstrong, and Darren Williams).

Chris Moralee, from Supporting Charities FC, who is organising the event, said: “We seriously cannot wait for the match. To be able to support our amazing local hospitals, where I and many of our players were born, is a huge honour.”

As well as the football match, the event will also have entertainment from ID Academy dancers, who will perform a cheerleading routine. There will also be a variety of stalls, a bouncy castle and face painting for children. There will be a charity auction after the match to raise more money for the appeal.

Kick off will be at 1.30pm on Sunday 14 April, at Horsfall Stadium (home of Bradford Park Avenue). Entrance is £4 for adults and £1 for under-16s.

If any businesses would like to support the event by sponsoring a celebrity player, or place an advert in the programme, please contact Chris Moralee on 07522123700 or email charityscfc@hotmail.com.

Anyone wishing to support the Rays a Smile appeal or find out more about Bradford Hospitals’ Charity – the NHS charity partner of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – please contact Hayley Collis or Elaine Drake on 01274 274809 or email charity@bthft.nhs.uk.

Find out more about the appeal at www.bradfordhospitalscharity.org

ENDS…

NHS staff pictured at their training session are as follows: back row (left to right) – Ed Holmes, Nazzar Butt, Joseph Leetham, Mark Leetham, Richie Feliciano, Azeem Yaseen.
Front row (left to right) – Azhar Khan, Ali Hasan, Yasir Maroof, Mark Swinden, Catherine Gardiner.