PICTURES: TOWIE stars turn out for Ethan’s charity football day
PUBLISHED: 13:43 29 April 2014 | UPDATED: 14:14 29 April 2014
Hundreds of people turned out for a charity football day to celebrate the life of an inspirational young boy.
Stars from The Only Way Is Essex came along – much to the delight of youngsters – and a huge crowd helped raised more than £3,500 for the Ethan Rees Linwood Memorial Fund.
The charity was set up by the family of the Saffron Walden County High student, who died in a car crash in October 2012, aged just 11.
Ethan’s dad, Bob, said the day at Saffron Walden Town FC’s Catons Lane ground had been “fantastic”.
“We would like to thank all of those involved in making the day a great success. There were so many volunteers who gave some of their time to help throughout the day,” he said.
“We would like to especially thank Melvyn, Lee, Kenny, Malcolm, Chrissy and all of the SWTFC team who did so much to make the day run smoothly.
“The lovely Matt Goulee, whose idea it originally was to have the charity day, did a sterling job, supported by Brad Osborne, to get Ethan’s All Star 11 players involved.
“Thank you to Matt and the whole team, who proved that being famous isn’t all about flash cars and money. They each gave up their spare time without payment to come and support our charity yet again this year and we are extremely grateful to them.”
Bob added: “Finally, and more personally, this was a day that whilst very rewarding for the charity, is a very difficult day for the family.
“We hope Ethan would have been proud of us and we know he would have enjoyed such a day, meeting new people, making new friends and talking to anyone who would care to listen.”
The day began with informal 5-a-side football matches designed to encourage boys and girls who do not play in a team to have a kick about.
Ethan’s old team mates from Thaxted Rangers then took to the pitch against his old school mates from Great Sampford Primary School and Saffron Walden County High School. Thaxted Rangers won the match and were the first recipients of the shield that will be used for all future Ethan’s Mates Matches.
This was closely followed by the Golden Oldies match – won by Bob’s side – before the main event.
Elliott Wright and Ricky Rayment, from TOWIE were joined by former professional footballers Darren Purse, Paul Terry – the brother of former England captain John - and Leo Roget among others to make up Ethan’s All-Star 11.
Firefighter Matt Goulee led the team out against Saffron Walden Town FC and a minute’s applause rang out around the ground in memory of Ethan.
Fusion Dance Company entertained the crowd at half-time but they could do little to inspire the All-Star team, whose lack of fitness eventually told as they slipped to a 3-0 defeat.
The Saffron Walden Reporter-sponsored cup was presented to Bloods captain Alex Riches.
Money raised from the day will go towards helping 8-16 year olds in the Uttlesford area to get a foot up in life.
To find out more about the charity, visit ethanrees.org