A CELEBRITY football team featuring ex-Big Brother contestants, a UK garage musician and an EastEnders actor will take to the pitch in Lutterworth on the day of the Euro 2020 final, in memory of a soldier who lost his life in Afghanistan.
Fundraising football team Celeb FC will play against friends of Leicestershire lad Chris Gray, who was shot and killed at the age of 19 during his first tour in Afghanistan in 2007.
The team – featuring MC Kie, Big Brother contestant Marlon Wallen, EastEnders star Matt Lapinskas, TV presenter Rob Lamarr and others – were contacted by Dan Exton, who explained his friend Chris’s story and how those left behind always try to honour his memory each year with a charity fund-raising event.
Dan said: “Chris and I grew up together, we played together, spent time together, he was my best friend – and Helen, Chris’s mum, was like my mum.
“Chris was always interested in the army and that was proudly his choice of career.
“Two weeks before he left for Afghanistan we went out for beers. I remember that very clearly.
“On April 13 2007, Chris was shot and killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban.
“Ever since this tragedy, we have tried to do a football tournament each year in Chris’s honour. We aim to get all his friends together, in a fun way, where Chris’s family share stories and we all laugh and cry together.
“Chris was a true hero. All of his family will be in attendance, including his mum Helen, dad Paul, sister Katie and brothers Liam and Nathan, as well as his much loved nan Rosemary.”
The event takes place on Sunday (July 11) at Lutterworth Athletic Club, Hall Lane, Bitteswell, from 11am. Kick-off is at 2pm.
Tickets are available on the gate, costing £5.50 for adults and £1 for under-16s.
All proceeds will be split between a number of groups working to prevent child poverty in Leicestershire.