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Stars come out in force to support local kids' charity PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 January 2012
CELEBRITIES are coming out in force to Maidstone on Friday night to contest a charity football match to raise funds for Demelza Hospice.


Demelza Hospice Care for Children provides respite care, short breaks, symptom control and end of life care for children and young people with life limited and life threatening conditions including those having treatment for cancer, here in Kent and south-east London.

Soccer Elite FA have organised the match, which takes place at Maplesden Noakes School, Buckland Road, Great Buckland, Maidstone, Kent ME16 0JT, with kick-off at 7pm on Friday (6 January 2012).

Soccer Elite FA, which offers professional football coaching here in Kent, was co-founded by Lee Spiller, who played for the likes of Chelsea, Gillingham, Ebbsfleet United, Margate, Dover Athletic, Welling United, Ashford Town and Folkestone Invicta.

Spiller’s great work developing young players has been recognised by Premier League giants Chelsea and he is now also working at their Academy.

He said: “I love the thought of how far the Academy has come.  We set out to give players opportunities that we were lucky enough to receive as young players.

“To be where we are today has exceeded all of our expectations.  It’s fantastic that now we have finished playing we are still involved in the game we love.”

And with his contacts he has enticed many stars to Maidstone as the Soccer Elite FA side lock horns with an Ex Pro/Celebrity side.

The Soccer Elite FA squad consists of the following – some household names to Kent football fans: Dean Ruddy, Steve Williams, Lee Spiller, Anthony Browne, Scott Lindsey, Stuart Bell, Ross Venables, Nick Corbo, Gary Rose, Lee Radford, Kevin Ford, Danni Farmer, Ryan Croucher, Ryan Perkins, Phil Starkey, Bradley Pay, Joff Funnell, Chris McConnell, Danny Price, with Jack Healy, Joe Reeves, Giorgio and Luca Russo, four Scholars in reserve.

The organisers have published the line-up for the Ex Pro/Celebrity squad:

Dave Beasant (England, Chelsea, Wimbledon)
Carl Webb (Barnet, Ebbsfleet United)
Andy Arnott (Manchester United, Fulham, Brighton & Hove Albion)
Peter Smith (Brighton & Hove Albion, PFA representative)
Steve Lovell (Crystal Palace, Gillingham, Millwall, Wales – FA Vase Wembley winner for Deal Town in 2000 – ex-manager at Sittingbourne and Ashford Town)
Russell Osman (England, Ipswich Town)
Micky Collins (Gillingham, Dartford, Tonbridge Angels – current manager at Erith & Belvedere)
Barry Ashby (Watford, Brentford, Gillingham – current assistant manager at Welling United)
Livi Fudulu (Rapid Bucharest)
Marcus Gayle (Watford, Wimbledon, Rangers, Jamaica)
Tim Fox (ex ATP world ranked tennis player)
Jeremy Lynch (Arsenal, Freestyle Footballing Champion)
Simon Osborn (Wolverhampton Wanderers, Queen’s Park Rangers, Reading, Crystal Palace, Bromley, Cray Wanderers)
Ian Cox (Crystal Palace, Gillingham, Trinidad & Tobago)
Wally Downes (West Ham United, Wimbledon, Reading)
Andy Rayes (Yeovil Town, Exeter City, Plymouth Argyle)
Martin McCague (Kent and England cricketer)
Jamie Lawrence (Sunderland, Leicester City, Bradford City)
Stuart Neathercott (Tottenham, Millwall)
Neil Smith (Tottenham, Reading, Millwall, Gillingham, Welling United, Bromley, Maidstone United – current coach at Bromley)

Micky Collins, 41, who owns a carpet and flooring shop - and is the manager at Kent Hurlimann Football League side Erith & Belvedere, said: “With the economic situation as it is charities need as much help as possible.  Demelza Hospice is a fantastic charity that does amazing work so when I was asked to play in the event I immediately said yes!

“It will be a great evening and a chance for Kent football fans to come and see some old faces.

“It’s fantastic that Soccer Elite FA have arranged this and it’s good to see the football community to support a great event.”

Neil Smith, 40, who coaches Blue Square Bet (Conference) South side Bromley and works full-time for his home-town club in their Football in the Community Scheme, added, “It’s a great charity to be involved in.  All the work they do for the children’s hospice must be very hard so just for me to give up my time for this great cause was a very easy thing to do.  I’m very honoured to be asked.

“It’ll be great to see some old players that I haven’t seen for some time.

“Hopefully their will be a big turn out and we can raise as much money as we can for this very worthwhile cause.”

Steve Lovell, 51, who is now the assistant Academy manager at League One outfit Charlton Athletic, added, “I’m looking forward to tomorrow night.  Lee (Spiller) and Browny (Anthony Browne) have done a great job with Soccer Elite and it’s a great night for charity.

“I’m looking forward to meeting some old professional friends and putting the boots on again.”

Stuart Bell, the operations director at Soccer Elite FA, said in a statement, “With a vast array of stellar names having signed up for this great cause we are now just a couple of days away from the event.

“Ex internationals from across the home nations plus household names from the world renowned Football League have committed their name to support this great event.

“Additionally we can also promote international sportsmen from cricket and tennis together with a ‘film star’ and unique footballing talent that will take your breath away!

“Soccer Elite FA are proud to put this event on in support of Demelza and in partnership with our venue hosts Maplesden Noakes. 

“We look forward to welcoming you to a fun and entertaining evening in aid of this great local charity.  Everything is set up for a memorable evening.”

Gates open at 5:45pm – a minimum programme donation of £15 per group will cover entry on the night.  A group is defined by a standard car load of four people.

All proceeds raised from the event will go direct to Demelza.

Maplesden Noakes School have kindly donated their venue, time and catering facilities for the evening including car parking facilities within its grounds for a maximum of 200 cars. 

The game with consists of four twenty minute quarters and during each ten-minute break six lucky spectators can take two penalties each against goalkeeper Dave Beasant, the first person to save a penalty in the FA Cup Final.

With car parking facilities EXTREMELY limited on the night the organisers would request that car sharing is obligatory where possible so that the logistics of car parking on the night is managed as easily as possible. Early arrivals would also be beneficial & pre-match entertainment will commence from 6.00pm onwards.

Alternatively if you aren't car sharing or coming close to kick off time, parking away from the ground and walking down would be hugely beneficial and help the marshals considerably.

Spectator areas will be available around three sides of the pitch plus on the tiered banking behind one goal and along side one side of the pitch. Seating isn't provided as standard so please bring seating if required.   

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 January 2012 )
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