It’s been a month since the horrific terror attack in Manchester, in which 22 people lost their lives and many more were injured and a group of MAN v FAT football players in Manchester have decided to help – by doing what they do best.

The Manchester MAN v FAT Football league will be hosting a 24-hour match at Goals 5-a-side Football in a bid to raise money for the British Red Cross in recognition of their tireless work in the aftermath of the Arena attack.

The brains behind the idea is Jon Hargreaves, a player from the MAN v FAT Manchester league. He spoke about the original idea and the potential of 24-hourhour game:

“After what happened on the 22nd May in our own city and how those events directly affected some of our lads, I felt like we needed to do something to help” he said. “The main aim is to raise as much money as we possibly can. We’ve set a goal of £1000 but we’re hopeful that it can be smashed.

“To say things have moved quickly would be a massive understatement. I secured the venue quickly and we soon had 25 confirmed players. That number has risen to around 60 with players coming from Bridgwater, North Solihull and possibly Hull and Glasgow. We’ve got people who aren’t even involved with the league wanting to come down and play.”

Jess, the assistant manager at Goals, said that she wants anyone who wants to help who the cause to come along to both the football match and the fun day which is being run alongside it.

“As a community, we are now stronger than ever”

She said: “The idea behind running a fun day is to do our bit and stand together whilst uniting communities. The message we want to send to people getting involved is if you’re wondering what you can do and how you can offer something back, whether its big or small, is to come along to the event.

“Bring friends and family and donate whatever you can towards this great cause. There will be lots going on during the day: a BBQ, bouncy castles, children’s entertainers, DJ, face painters, football tournaments, bubble football and lots more. It’s a great family day out for a fantastic cause.”

The tragic attack on the city stunned the nation and left a sad mark, especially on those who experienced it so close to home.

Graeme, a 31-year old player from the Manchester league, is a paramedic and was involved in the aftermath of the attack with the emergency services during the night. He has seen first hand the effect it has had on the community.

He said: “As a community I think we are now stronger than ever. Events like this show us how much people from all walks of life care. It’s not always thought that a big city can have a community spirit, but the kindness and helpfulness of the community is still around – and is there for the world to see.

“I will be playing in the 24 hour event. I play in the cup and league winning team who are playing in the last hour. It’s important for us to all come together at a time like this and help others. Counselling, funerals and accommodation for parents all cost money and making sure they don’t worry is more important than being tired after playing.”

If you want to play, email manvfatmanchester@gmail.com to get involved. All that you need to do is make a donation on the JustGiving page.

The minimum donation for players is £10 per individual and a minimum of £100 for a team of 8-10. Kick-off is at 12pm on Saturday 1st July at Goals Manchester (next to the Irish heritage centre).

If you want to get involved, email manvfatmanchester@gmail.com or join their Facebook page. You can also find them on Twitter so be sure to send them messages of support (or Red Bull – sugar-free, natch), they’re going to need it.