On the 6th of October, over 40 teachers from 35 different schools descended on the tranquil village of Lanchester in County Durham. They were there for the first ever #EduFootyAid event, organised by the Striker Boy Campaign in aid of Mind. #EduFootyAid events are charity football matches, but what makes them special is that all the players are teachers. The inaugural #EduFootyAid event saw The North East Elite face-off against The UK All-Stars, and there was a lot of pride on the line.
Former teacher and trained opera singer Rachel Orr provided the perfect start with a flawless rendition of Nessun Dorma, popularised by Pavarotti at Italia 90. The North East Elite also enjoyed a perfect start, going 2-0 up in the first five minutes and adding a third before the half-time whistle blew. It looked like the game was going to be a whitewash, but some tactical changes at half-time by All-Stars captain Lee Parkinson saw a reinvigorated team take the field. The All-Stars rallied well, scoring twice in quick succession, and a comeback looked likely. However, they couldn’t keep up the pressure and the North East eventually added a fourth to their tally, with the game ending 4-2.
However, the real winners on the day were Mind, the country’s leading mental health charity. The event had hoped to raise £2,000, but at the time of writing over £5,000 has been raised. This includes £1,000 raised for Mind Derwentside, which provides direct support in the Lanchester community. The bulk of the money for Mind Derwenstide was generated by an exceptional raffle, which had items donated from Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham and Sunderland football clubs. A cheque for £10,000, which included additional funds generated by the Striker Boy campaign, was presented to Mind at half-time.
The match was hosted by Lanchester Primary and the school did an incredible job of making everybody feel welcome. It was a whole school affair with four teachers playing for the North East Elite, including the team captain Martin Bailey, Headteacher Jane Davis running the raffle, and caretaker Mark Gill, in school from 7am getting the site ready.
A crowd of over 200 spectators gathered for the event. There was plenty to keep them entertained before the match began, including fairground rides, bouncy castles, and delicious ice-creams and burgers. The Durham FA also got behind the event and provided a qualified referee, Paul Lauder, who did an exceptional job on the day. The only moment of controversy came when the UK All-Stars struck the underside of the crossbar, and claimed the ball had crossed the line. No goal was given and unfortunately the budget didn’t stretch to cover VAR.
This event was only made possible thanks to generous sponsorship from a number of educational suppliers, namely; TES, Groupcall, Think-IT, 2Simple, The Literacy Shed, and Primary PE Passport. If you are a teacher and would be interested in playing in future #EduFootyAid events visit www.strikerboy.com