Celebrity Football Game for Bedale Cancer Fighters

A CELEBRITY football game is hosted by one of the most famous grassroots clubs in the country and its renowned sponsors to help raise funds for causes named by two remarkable children who bravely fought cancer.

Bedale AFC, in association with sponsors local sausage maker Heck Food Ltd, have raised thousands of dollars and won prizes for their extravagant football kits helping to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer in memory of Steve Garbett, who died in 2014 at the age of 62.

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On Sunday April 10, they are hosting the Celebrity Match to also raise money for causes chosen by local youngsters Alfie Hutchinson, eight, and Bailey Cuthbert, 12, who underwent grueling cancer treatment over the past two last years. They hope thousands of people will attend the game and fundraiser.

Bedale AFC chairman Martyn Coombs said: “In November 2020 Alfie Hutchinson was diagnosed with ependymoma, a rare brain tumour.

“Alfie has been through the most unimaginable things, but was an absolute superhero and fought the greatest fight.

“He underwent a craniotomy at Great North Children’s Hospital, a ten-and-a-half-hour operation to remove a tumor from the back of his skull, followed by 36 hours in pediatric intensive care where he required both radiation and of chemotherapy.

“He was due to undergo proton beam radiation in Essen, Germany, but that changed when Covid restrictions came in and on a scan in Manchester they discovered more tumour.

“Alfie returned to Newcastle for further brain surgery and spent an additional 24 hours in pediatric intensive care.

“Once recovered, Alfie returned to Manchester to undergo 33 proton beam radiation treatments after falling ill on treatment 31 he was taken to Manchester Children’s Hospital with an infection in his Hickman line.

“He completed his proton beam radiotherapy in April 2021, followed by a further 16 weeks of chemotherapy.

“Alfie wants to help those who have helped him, so his share of the profits will go to Manchester Christie Hospital.

“In March 2020, the day before the first lockdown, Bailey Cuthbert received a devastating diagnosis of osteosarcoma, bone cancer, in his right wrist.

“Within days he began a grueling ten months of intensive chemo at Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle. Due to Covid Bailey was not allowed a single visitor so together with his mother Elaine they were totally isolated from the rest of the family which was particularly difficult for dad Dean and his brother Freddie at their home in Bedale.

Echo of the North:

“Bailey endured intensive, relentless rounds of chemo, resulting in horrific life-threatening infections.

“In June, he underwent 14 hours of theater to undergo surgery to remove the tumor from his wrist as well as nearly all of the bones in his forearm.

“At the same time they did a graft using a bone from his leg to use in place in his arm, he also had two metal plates inserted which hold his wrist in place.

“It was the first operation of this kind at the RVI. For seven months Bailey had to be fed through a tube and was helped during his stay in hospital by Gareth Williams, co-ordinator of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation-funded Children’s Support Project offering patients the opportunity to take part in recreational activities, within sports games and educational opportunities.

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“When Bailey completed treatment and returned to Bedale CE Primary School, with the help of school friends they managed to raise £17,000 for Great North Children’s Hospital at Royal Victoria Hospital and he wants his share of the proceeds from the celebrity football match to go to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Team Garby was set up by friends devastated after the death of Mr Garbett and together with Bedale AFC they have raised an astonishing £189,155 for Prostate Cancer UK, through a wide variety of events including rides cycling from John O’ Groats to Lands End followed by a run from John O’ Groats to Dover, charity galas and the live televised launch of the team’s ‘hot dog’ kit sponsored by Heck Foods.

A third of the proceeds from the Celebrity Match will go to the fund.

Echo of the North:

Mr Coombs said organizers hoped thousands would attend the event at Bedale Sports Club and the community center when the Junior Football Club kicks off with an exhibition game at 11.30am.

At 12.15pm there is a free 1km children’s run around the sports club and a 5km adult run.

Admission and parking are free, although everyone is encouraged to bring cash.

A farmers market will be held with vendors Bedale Bakery, Worsdale cakes, Reet Yorkshire, Gallones Ice Cream, Masham Cider Press, Historic Football Shirts, the Sunderland Fan Museum, the Heck Hot van, Sweetastic, Ben Ellis the Chocolatier and Kirsties Bonny Bows as well than face painting, hair braiding and a Prosecco bar.

1973 FA Cup-winning Sunderland AFC captain Bobby Kerr will be on hand with a replica FA Cup, and visitors can also meet rising Boro star Josh Coburn, who scored the FA Cup-winning goal against Tottenham Hotspur.

The celebrity football match is hosted by Simon Grayson, with confirmed stars Ryan Sidebottom of Yorkshire CCC, Danny Mills, Ian Harte, Glynn Snodin, Andy Hughes, Bryn Law of Sky Sports, Stewart Downing, Craig Hignett, Grant Leadbitter, Gareth Williams, former Blyth Spartans player, Paul Heaton, founder of Housemartins and the Beautiful South, Colston Smith, who plays Craig Tinkler in Coronation Street, and Chris Edwards of Kasabian.

We hope that Kevin Phillips will also play. Players will be introduced to Alfie and Bailey before kick-off at 2pm. The Heck Cup will be presented at 3:15 p.m. by the Mayor of Bedale, Councilor Andrew Hallett.

The main prize in the raffle is a £100 voucher from Bedale’s Travel Lounge with dozens of other prizes drawn at 3.30pm, followed by Scott Adams as Elvis Presley.

The day should end around 4 p.m.

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