Geordies Vs Mackems game scores thousands in memory of Bradley Lowery
Football rivals battled it out on the pitch as they united in boosting the funds of a foundation set up in honour of Bradley Lowery.
Members of the ‘Geordies Vs Mackems Let The Banter Begin’ Facebook page met up to play in a game in tribute to the six-year-old from Blackhall Colliery, who lost his fight against cancer in July.
The event has now pumped more than £7,200 into the Bradley Lowery Foundation through sponsorship from the players’ family and friends, with people from across the region joining in the match.
The supporters picked to back Bradley’s fund after they were all touched by his story and how he brought people through football.
It was hosted at the Millennium Centre, in Washington, with those taking part forming teams of Sunderland or Newcastle fans for the game, and was hailed such a success a rematch has already been pencilled in for 2018.
The group has sent its thanks to the management of the centre, which donated the use of the pitch for free, while Barry Sweeney - who lost his son Liam in the MH17 plane crash as the 28-year-old headed to watch Newcastle in New Zealand in 2014 - stepped up to take on the task of referee.
The game was brought together with the help of Philip Avery, 20 from Pallion in Sunderland, who works as a chef at the city centre’s Premier Inn hotel.
He said: “We’re all either Sunderland or Newcastle supporters and just decided this would be a good thing to do.
“We’re really pleased with how much was raised.
“We expected to get about £2,000, so to raise this much is great.
“Guest referee Barry Sweeney took charge of the game commanding a minutes silence pre-match from both sides dedicated to ‘all children taken too soon.’”
At half time, Newcastle were in the lead at 3-1, but the game was level at 3-3 by full time.
It then went to penalties, with Sunderland the winning side.
In addition to the cash raised by those who took part, £500 was also donated by Walker Taxis.