Footballing fans will shine a light on the work of two leading charities with a memorial match to a Washington dad.
A team of Black Cats fans will take on a side of Magpies in a friendly derby at the Stadium Light in memory of Paul Warris.
The 52-year-old, from Washington, died in March after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, leaving wife Alison and his four children, Philip, 31, Michael, 24, Daniel 22 and Aimee 14.
His life-long friend, firefighter Nev Harris, is now organising a charity 11-a-side match of friends and family to raise awareness about the condition and much-needed funds for St Benedict’s Hospice in Ryhope, and The Brain Tumour Charity.
The NUFC Fans Xl and SAFC Fans Xl teams will take to the pitch at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, June 3. The gates open at 11.45am for a 12.30pm kick-off.
Nev said: “It is going to be an amazing experience, emotional, definitely, but something we will never forget.
It’s going to be an amazing experience, emotional, definitely, but something we will never forgetNev Harris
“Normally when you hire the pitch you end up playing strangers, but this time it will be two teams of friends and family playing to raise money for two great causes.”
Paul collapsed last year while working at Nissan and a scan revealed a brain tumour, which was found to be glioblastoma, which is difficult to treat.
When his condition worsened he was taken to St Benedict’s Hospice in Ryhope.
Nev said: “I went to school with Paul from the age of 11 and became best friends from then. We used to play football and he was a keen Newcastle United fan.
“We just felt we needed to do something in his memory, that football would be the perfect choice and this would help fund research and aid the hospice which cared for him so well.”
The memorial match will have added poignancy as Paul’s brother-in-law Kenny Watson also died suddenly earlier this month.
Nev, said: “It is going to be such a family affair, joined by close friends, and we are hoping to raise as much money as we possibly can while remembering Paul and Kenny in a way I know they would have loved.”
Ex-Blyth Spartans manager Tom Wade and ex-Newcastle player Olivier Bernard will manage the NUFC Fans Xl team and ex-Sunderland players John Cornforth and Julio Arca will manage the SAFC Fans Xl team..
St Benedict’s Hospice fundraising manager Catrina Flynn said: “It really is going to be a very special and moving occasion,which seems to be the prefect way to honour Paul’s memory and raise valuable funds for us and the Brain Tumour Charity.”
Fans will need a wristband in advance to enter the stadium. They can be sought from Nev Harris by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who would like to make a donation should visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/paulwarristrophy.