Match in memory of Michael raises cash for charity

A CHARITY football game held in memory of Blyth teenager Michael Sweeney raised £600 to help injured soldiers and their families.

Saturday’s game saw Niall Bromley’s Blyth Misfits side beat a team from 19-year-old Michael’s former colleagues in the Coldstream Guards 2-1.

The weather at Blyth Spartans’ Croft Park ground held up, and a crowd of around 200 supporters were entertained by the regiment’s corps of drums.

The Territorial Army manned a hot dog stand with refreshments, and a paintball range and tombola added to the fundraising effort.

Each spectator was given a raffle ticket on entry, and a young boy won the top prize of a signed Spartans football.

A second game was held in memory of fellow Coldstream Guard John Amer, of Sunderland, who, like Michael, also killed in Afghanistan.

The game was won by Sunderland Sun Alliance. They beat Liverpool Sun Alliance 4-3.

Michael’s mum Kim said she hoped to attract an even bigger crowd next year to support injured soldiers through the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF).

She said: “They put theirs lives on the line for us, so that we may live safe and free. It’s the least we can do to help them and their families when they need it most.

“It helps keep Michael’s memory alive. He gave the ultimate sacrifice, as many have done before him, and while we don’t need the financial help, there are many wounded soldiers and their families who would benefit from the funds we are trying to raise.”

Kim added: “The teams were excited to play and loved the venue.

“We would like to say a big thank you to the Spartans chairman and Northumberland County Council for allowing us to use their grounds.

“Speaking to both teams, they were eager to get going and played a very good game.

“We were torn in supporting one side or the other, as both sides were playing in memory of Michael, so we had to remain neutral, but enjoyed the game immensely.”

ABF north east chairman Eric Ingram said: “I would like to pay tribute to the Sweeney and Amer families.

“Despite their terrible losses, they have worked tirelessly to raise funds for soldiers and families who have suffered through serving their country.

“It is very humbling to work with them, and I will do all that I can to help keep Michael Sweeney and John Amer’s memories alive.

“I would also like to thank the public who have supported the families. We are indebted to every one of them.”