Football match in memory of Seaham teenager Megan Bell raises vital charity funds

A much-loved teenager was remembered as a charity football match in her honour attracted hundreds of people.

The match, held at Seaham Town Park, was played in memory of former Sunderland schoolgirl Megan Bell, 17.

Action from the charity match.

Action from the charity match.

Megan, from Seaham, died in July 2016 while she was attending the T in the Park festival, in Scotland.

Former Sunderland AFC players Darren Williams and Michael Proctor were among those who took part in the football match, along with members of Megan’s family and many of the local boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) community.

It is the second year the event has been held, with funds raised going to Megan’s Rainbow Support Trust, which was set up to offer counselling to families who lose a child and to help them meet the unexpected cost of a funeral.

Megan’s dad Chris, 45, was among those who took part.

The teams line up before the game.

The teams line up before the game.

He said: “We held the match for the first time last year, and raised a couple of thousand pounds for Megan’s benefit.

“We decided to make it an annual event, and this year were raising funds for Megan’s charity, which is to help families who lose children like we did with Megan.

“As well as a fundraiser, it’s a memorial for Megan, and helps us cope a little bit better.

“It helps to keep Megan’s memory alive.”

Megan Bell died last July.

Megan Bell died last July.

The event was organised between Megan’s family and Lee Duncan, who runs the Seaham Athletic youth team.

The game was played at the home ground of Northern League club Seaham Red Star, to whom Chris is thankful.

He added: “The weather wasn’t the greatest, but it was great to see people come out and support the event.

“Seaham is such a close-knit community.

A minute's applause was held before the game.

A minute's applause was held before the game.

“Seaham Red Star and the council were brilliant in accommodating us, as were Seaham Athletic in helping to organise the event.

“People turned up to support it, which is brilliant and means a lot to us.”

Each player’s shirt carried the former St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic School student Megan’s name.

Admission to the game was £2, with a raffle and auction held afterwards to raise further funds for the charity.

Last year’s event was held at Dawdon Welfare Ground just weeks after Megan’s tragic death.

Megan's dad Chris and brother Josh, front, with former Sunderland footballers Michael Proctor, standing left, and Darren Williams, standing right.

Megan's dad Chris and brother Josh, front, with former Sunderland footballers Michael Proctor, standing left, and Darren Williams, standing right.

Action from the game.

Action from the game.