On Sunday, June 5, a celebrity charity match will be taking place at Ilkeston Town FC. Craig Marsh, from Shirebrook, runs All Star Soccer – the company organising the game to raise funds for mental health charity CALM.
He said that he wanted to help raise awareness of the work the charity does to support those suffering from mental health issues, and added that this was his first foray into organising such events.
“I’ve never overly suffered from mental health problems myself, but I know it's prominent right now. It’s about raising awareness of CALM and what they do, and how mental health problems can impact people.
“This is the first match I’ve ever organised. I’ve always raised money for various charities, but I’ve always wanted to go into this kind of event organising.
“I’m just a normal, day-to-day person, I’ve got no links to the worlds of professional football or television – I’ve had to try and build those connections.”
A number of celebrities have already been confirmed to be playing, with more to be announced over the next few weeks.
Harry Young, Danny Williams and Michael Boateng – all former Love Island contestants – will be taking part.
There are a range of soap actors set to appear, such as David Kennedy from Hollyoaks, Jay Kontzle from Emmerdale, and Coronation Street stars Jamie Kenna, Ryan Russell and Nathan Graham.
Other players to have been confirmed include Daniel Cutting, a world record breaking football freestyler and Ellis Platten, a YouTuber. They will be joined by Rhodri Giggs, former footballer and brother of Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, and Ryan Sidebottom, the former Nottinghamshire and England cricketer.
Craig said that there would be opportunities for meet and greets with some of the celebrities after the match, and added that he was in talks with ex-Derby County and Nottingham Forest players. He also confirmed that no one taking part was being paid to appear.
“I was surprised to hear that some people charge a fee to appear in these kinds of games. I can confirm that no one I’ve spoken to and got on board for this match is charging a fee – they’re coming from all over the country to give their time for free.”
Sportswear giant Kappa will be providing the kits for both teams free of charge, and WOW Hydrate will supply drinks for the players. Midas Creative, based in Mansfield, have also helped Craig with the promotion of the event.