Beautiful game raises money for charities


Local football teams, Ilkley Town and Knaresborough Celtic, have long been fierce competitors on the junior soccer scene, but placed their intense rivalry to one side in a bid to raise cash for charity.


Two sets of players – now adults and in their early 20s – returned to the pitch for one final clash, this time in aid of good causes.


The passing away, in 2020, of Ilkley player Calum Tong, aged 21, was a key factor in bringing his former team mates back together for the match at the MPM Stadium, Ben Rhydding.


One of the beneficiaries from the game will be the UK Sepsis Trust.


Ilkley manager Paul Ellis said: “All the players wanted to turn out for one more game and raise funds for good causes.


“Football of course is competitive, a battle between opposing sides on the pitch. We always had tough games with Knaresborough. However, we’ve also been great friends and enjoyed a strong friendship off the pitch.


“It was great to invite them back to Ilkley. These are tough times for everyone so it’s good to help charities out. A friendly football match seemed the right thing to do.”


Money raised on the day will also be shared with the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre, and the Saint Michael’s Hospice, both in Harrogate – causes close to the heart of the Knaresborough team.


In front of a crowd of over 200, the game ended 0-4 to Knaresborough.


Local businesses supporting the event included: Moss & Moor Garden Centre, The Original Factory Shop, Tesco Express, Pendle Sports, Banyan, Tesco, Bar T’at, Heineken and Costa Coffee. Parents in Ilkley and Knaresborough also gave donations.


A JustGiving page has been set up for the UK Sepsis Trust in memory of Calum Tong. Calum’s parents and sister were immensely touched by the generosity shown by so many people.