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#GAME4GRENFELL

Emdad Rahman

LOFTUS ROAD – the home of Queens Park Rangers – is to host a benefit football game this Saturday in an act of solidarity with the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and to support them.

The famous west London club is the closest to where the disaster unfolded and will team up with the QPR in the Community Trust for the #Game4Grenfell match in association with Columbia Records and Toast Entertainment Group.

The fixture is the brainchild of QPR Chair Tony Fernandes, Director of Football Les Ferdinand and Columbia Records’ Ferdy Unger-Hamilton. Two teams consisting of ex-professionals and celebrities, as well as a few special guests, will play a 90-minute match in W12, just one mile away from the North Kensington tower-block. The match will be a community event to give something back to those affected by the fire back in June, using football as the most powerful of tools to unite the people of West London.

A number of famous ex-pros, including Les Ferdinand, David Seaman, Trevor Sinclair, Alan Shearer, Andy Sinton, Jody Morris, Ally McCoist and Paul Merson, are among those already signed up to play their part in W12. Peter Crouch will also feature, alongside his firefighter friend Gregg Jules, who was directly involved in the relief effort.

Ferdinand, who grew up in the area affected and spent much of his youth in the local community before going on to play for QPR throughout a distinguished career for the Hoops, said, “The Grenfell Tower fire has had a huge impact on the local community, of which QPR is a massive part. As someone who grew up in the area, personally this is incredibly close to my own heart and having spoken to Tony [Fernandes], he was also keen to continue the work we’ve done in the community since the fire.

“A game, giving something back to the people of West London, seemed like the obvious thing to do, and thanks to QPR, Toast Entertainment Group and Columbia Records, the idea of a #Game4Grenfell was born.

“Despite the natural team rivalries that exist in football, I have always found that this sport can unite people and communities like no other. In the hours and days after the tragic fire, Fulham, Brentford, Chelsea and ourselves worked shoulder to shoulder, uniting for the communities we all live and work in.”

QPR Chair Tony Fernandes added, “This game isn’t about QPR, this game is about our community, and it’s a vehicle to bring people together; to give us all an opportunity to show solidarity. I spent my college days around the area affected and have always felt West London is special. The reaction after the Grenfell fire confirmed what I have always believed.

“It will take years, and in some cases a lifetime, for our community to recover from this. We hope this match, this event, this demonstration of support, will help, in some small way, to show that all those who have been affected are not alone. We all stand together.”

In addition, Marcus Mumford, Olly Murs, Wretch 32, Ben Shephard, Damian Lewis, DJ Spoony, Tinie Tempah, Jarvis Cocker, Darren Campbell, Jamie Dornan, Richard Ashcroft, Serge Pizzorno, Tamer Hassan, Ben Cohen and James Bay are among those set to feature too, in what promises to be a day to remember for the West London community.

The power of football will ensure the legacy extends well beyond the game itself, thanks primarily to the involvement of Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford & Sons. Mumford has spent the last few weeks with survivors and their families and thanks to his efforts and the involvement of a number of local charities and organisations, of which the QPR in the Community Trust has been at the forefront, a free summer football programme for young children was set up at the Westway Sports Centre.

Mumford said, “I’m very excited to be part of the summer’s worth of football for kids affected by Grenfell and in the wider North Kensington community. I’m also really looking forward to dusting off my boots, nutmegging Ferdinand and smashing some goals past Seaman on September 2nd.”

Olly Murs, who will feature alongside Mumford on 2nd September at Loftus Road, added, “I’m very honoured to be asked to support such a worthwhile cause, raising money for the people of Grenfell. To be able to help – by playing a game of footy – was a no-brainer for me to sign up! Hopefully we can sell out the ground, and everyone gets behind this game – I can’t wait.”

Over 2,000 complimentary tickets for this Saturday’s match will be issued to those directly affected by the tragedy, including families, the emergency services, volunteers, local residents and those who played their part in the recovery efforts in North Kensington.

Public tickets for a #Game4Grenfell are on sale now, priced just £15 for adults and £5 for concessions. Monies raised from ticket sales and other fundraising initiatives around the event will be passed directly to the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund. To buy, go to:
https://www.eticketing.co.uk/qpr/details/event.aspx?itemref=6866

For further information on the #Game4Grenfell, go to:
www.game4grenfell.com

To donate, go to:
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Game4Grenfell

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Credit: Andrew Cotterill

•Read more about it:
March to remember Grenfell
Artists release Grenfell record

 

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