Whilst several local sports clubs returned to training, footballers from the Corinthians Veterans team went a step further, staging their first competitive match in more than four months, raising awareness and much-needed funding for The Mason Foundation for Innovation in Early Cancer Screening, a charitable micro-trust set up to support and encourage research into early cancer screening and healthcare diagnostics, with its emphasis on being affordable and accessible.
The match, which was staged at Corinthians Stambridge Memorial Ground home, saw the clubs’ first and second teams go head-to-head in a thoroughly entertaining encounter which saw the former run out winners by five goals to three and was the brainchild of Andy Ward who has committed a considerable amount of time towards the charity.
Ward is set to undertake his third London Marathon in four years. However, with lockdown restrictions hampering his fund-raising ahead of the popular event, the Corinthians defender was forced to think outside the box in a bid to continue his unwavering support.
“It’s been 133 days since we were last able to play football, so pulling the boots on again seemed the perfect answer,” he told Yellow Sport.
“The government measures meant we couldn’t invite spectators, but the players alone raised £700, taking my total to £1,000 ahead of the race which will be staged in October.
Ward, a life-long Southend United supporter, added: “The first team won, but it was great to see so many people smiling and laughing, particularly as so many people had suffered one way or another during the lockdown.
“Ben Adams supported me in getting the match staged, while Richard Brenkley provided us with commemorative shirts. I believe this was probably the first game of grassroots football played in the county following the easing of restrictions by the Government.”