A MEMORIAL football match which has raised huge amounts of money is returning later this month.

The Winklebury Legends Memorial Football Match will return for its fourth year on Saturday, July 28.

The event, which will take place at the Hampshire FA stadium, was founded by Cathy Nash in 2021 in honour of her husband George Nash, who sadly died during lockdown restrictions, George was an avid Crystal Palace fan.

Within days Fred Elgar, an Arsenal fan and long-standing friend of George sadly died, both men had come to Winklebury as part of the London Overspill scheme in the early 1960s. 

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Winklebury Legends Memorial Football Match in 2023 (Image: Paul Moulten) Once restrictions were lifted Cathy and both families decided to organise a memorial charity football match in their honour, the Reds (Arsenal) v the Blues (Crystal Palace).

In the years following the event has grown, maintaining the Reds v Blues theme, and this year will see more than 80 Winklebury legends honoured.

The players taking part in the event will all have the names of their loved ones on the back of their shirts.

Gates open at 11 am with the ‘mini’s’ and girls playing first, followed by the juniors playing for the Graham Garrett Cup. Graham founded the Winklebury Wizards (WWs) Football Club in the year 2000, and since then, more than 1,500 young people have played for WWs. The cup is played for each year by the Junior Legends in honour of ‘GG’.

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The memorial ceremony starts at 2.15pm with all players (adults and children) plus the officials, around the centre circle for the Roll of Honour which is read out in honour of the Winklebury Legends being remembered. Kick-off is 3pm.

Cathy said: “I can’t believe how the event has grown from a football match to honour the lives of two people, to now honouring over 80 loved ones from Winklebury. The atmosphere is always great with many people coming along and catching up with old friends, it’s a great family, friendly community event for Winklebury, I feel very proud to be a part of it.”

Proceeds from previous years’ events have been used for some fantastic causes including more than £4.300 being donated to Naomi House and Jacksplace and the provision of four fully accessible defibrillators for the Winklebury area.

The proceeds from 2024 will go towards equipment for Winklebury and Castle Hill Schools and the Winklebury Bench Project.

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An event spokesperson said: “We were successful earlier this year in achieving a grant from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Pride in Place Scheme. This project has received £12,293.00 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. 

“We are very excited about this project as we aim to put a number of benches around Winklebury that will be painted by local artist Fatima Pantoja. All the benches will depict a scene that represents the history or heritage of Winklebury. These will be designed by the local community and we have been closely working with the schools, youth groups and other groups in the area.”

Tickets for the match on Saturday, July 28 are available online via the Winklebury Legends Facebook page or at the gate on the day.