Charity match raises £600 for Bradley Lowery Foundation

published on 21 Feb 2022

A charity football match between The Salvation Army’s Swan Lodge Lifehouse in Sunderland and Northumbria Police has raised more than £600 for the Bradley Lowery Foundation.

The match, sponsored by Clearly Drinks who provided shirts and water bottles, was in aid of the foundation set up in honour of the six-year-old boy who died after being diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer, in 2017.

Players from Swan Lodge, which offers supported accommodation for up to 65 homeless adults set up a team with residents at Poplar House, a hostel run by The Ashley Foundation, in a bid to be crowned champions.

Although they lost 5-1 against Northumbria Police, Swan Lodge administrator Andy Smith said the match was one of the best days he had experienced. He’s hoping to arrange more matches in the future

Swan Lodge 1
Players from Swan Lodge and Poplar House took on a team from Northumbria Police

He commented: “The atmosphere and the buzz were brilliant and to have some people cheering us on was unbelievable. The residents and staff did Swan Lodge so proud. There were no dirty tackles, and everyone came together to raise money for a fantastic cause.

“At the end of the first half, we were only 1-0 down and I don’t think the scoreline really reflects the game. We made changes so everybody had an opportunity to take part and they never stopped running.”

Andy also paid tribute to Christine Ritchie, who managed the team.

He said: “She was barking orders and keeping everyone motivated but managed to get herself booked and sent off! She is the first one there and the last one to leave – she is Swan Lodge.”

Swan Lodge 2
Administrator Andy Smith, who organised the day, said he was very proud of The Swan Lodge and Poplar House team

Chief Inspector Neil Hall of Northumbria Police said his officers were thrilled to take part in this event to raise money for a fantastic cause.

He added: “I’m pleased it was such a success. We all know that football can bring communities together. We are really proud of the relationship we have with the residents of Swan Lodge and events such as these will only help strengthen that further.”

As well as the match, Andy secured some top prizes for a raffle on the day including signed footballs from Jermain Defoe, who recently returned to Sunderland AFC, and Kevin Phillips, who scored 30 goals for the club in one season and now manages South Shields. A football shirt signed by former Arsenal and England player Paul Merson was also up for grabs.

Andy said: “The residents are on a limited income, but everyone bought a ticket because they wanted to contribute in some way. A lot of us have kids so the Bradley Lowery Foundation really hit home.”

Swan Lodge 3
The match finished 5-1 to Northumbria Police

A spokesman for Clearly Drinks said the company was extremely proud to have been part of the charity football match.

She said: “When we heard about the plans, we knew we had to get involved as sponsors to ensure the Swan Lodge Lifehouse team had the quality kit and drinks that they needed to feel united and have the self-confidence to come together from all walks of life and enjoy the sport on a level playing field. It is hugely important for us as a business to support our local community whenever we can, and we are looking forward to seeing what the upcoming fixtures bring.”

Brooke Mitchell is fundraising and family support worker at The Bradley Lowery Foundation and attended the match.

She said: “We would like to thank everyone involved for their amazing support. It was lovely to see everyone get involved and enjoy themselves too. It is an amazing amount which has been raised, we cannot thank you all enough.” 

Officer providing support and advice

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