Charity match will honour tragic Sunderland 27-year-old

Julie Reay, centre,  at one of her previous charity football matches.
Julie Reay, centre, at one of her previous charity football matches.
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Organisers of a charity football match will be kicking off to raise funds to create a memorial for a 27-year-old who lost his battle with a rare disease.

Hundreds turned out to the funeral of Ryan Mckinnie, earlier this month which was themed around Only Fools and Horses to honour the Pennywell man’s fun spirit and love of the show.

Ryan McKinnie (right) with his mum Cassandra Conley.

Ryan McKinnie (right) with his mum Cassandra Conley.

His death from rare Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a form of vasculitis which can attack many parts of the body, was a double blow to his family who in 2008 were devastated when Ryan’s cousin Nathan Cuthbertson, 19, was killed while serving his country as a paratrooper in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The pair were like brothers and Ryan’s family said he had never been the same since his hero cousin’s death.

Now charity champion Julie Reay, from Barnes, will dedicate her annual charity football match to Ryan.

Julie, who is friends with Nathan’s mum Carla and Ryan’s mum Cassandra, who are sisters, said: “Both sisters are my friends and I wanted to raise some funds so that Cass can buy a lasting memorial to Ryan, such as a memorial bench.”

Nathan Cuthbertson

Nathan Cuthbertson

Since the death of her son Peter Lane, 13, in 2002 in a tragic rope swing accident, Julie has raised more than £150,000 for good causes through the Peter David Lane Trust Fund.

As well as the Boxing Day Dip, one of the highlights of her fundraising calendar is the annual charity match..

This year’s match between West End FC and Easington Colliery FC will take place on Tuesday, August 2, at Ford Quarry playing fields.

The event will also feature games between West End Under 12s and Under 10s at 5.45pm, as well as a match between West End Under 14s and Under 15s at 6.30pm. The main match with the first teams will kick off at 7.30pm.

Funeral of Ryan McKinnie

Funeral of Ryan McKinnie

Julie added: “I again feel very proud and of course extremely grateful for the support given by both of these football clubs, I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

“I can’t praise Sunderland West End enough. Not only do they organise this event, they have supported Peter’s fund for many years and carry his footprint logo on their strips.

“This event brings out so much community spirit and has helped so many important charities over the years.”

Funds on the night will also go to the Get Your Belly Out campaign, supporting Crohn’s & Colitis UK.

There will also be stalls and refreshments on the night. Admission is £2 and under 16s go free. Gates open at 5.15pm.