Match has charity goal

This Is Wiltshire: MND sufferer Martin O’Shea, third left, with friends, from left, Simon Bray, James Whitehead and Pete Ralph MND sufferer Martin O’Shea, third left, with friends, from left, Simon Bray, James Whitehead and Pete Ralph

Former Corsham Sunday league footballer James Whitehead has swapped his boots for the backroom, to organise a charity match for a friend with motor neurone disease.

Mr Whitehead, 30, is the driving force behind the Motor Neurone Select 11, a team of amateur players who will be lining up against the Swindon Town youth team next week.

The former Corsham Centre player has put together a team of Chippenham Town, Bath City and Corsham Town players, who will take to the field in Corsham on Tuesday.

The game is being held for Mr Whitehead’s former teammate Martin O’Shea, who suffers from the disease.

Mr Whitehead said: “Martin was diagnosed back in October with motor neurone disease and through that we decided we wanted to raise some money.

“We’ve raised funds for Kidney Research UK with a similar match before, but now we’re looking to beat that total.”

The match will be followed by an auction of sporting memorabilia.

The lots on offer include signed Swindon Town shirts and match tickets, signed Manchester United photos and a Bath Rugby ball, tickets to a Somerset Twenty20 match, and Paralympic GB merchandise donated by Stephanie Millward.

Mr Whitehead said: “I’m amazed with how much we’ve already been given – we did all that through word of mouth.

“People have been generous enough to donate so much already, but we are still accepting items.

“Martin is deeply touched by how many people are going to so much effort for him. He is one of life’s great guys and he has been dealt a bad hand.

“We just all wanted to do something to help.”

Swindon Town were approached through their academy goalkeeping coach Steve Hale, who used to play in the local leagues.

He said: “We’re just happy to help out.

“It’s a great experience for our lads as part of their development to play against adult players, and it’s good for us to come down to help Corsham Town, which is a great club. I’ve played there myself a few times and I know lots of the guys involved.”

The game kicks off at 7.30pm at the Corsham Town ground on Lacock Road.

Tickets are available on the gate and cost £5 for adults or £2.50 for children and OAPs.

All proceeds go to the North Wiltshire Group of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

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