MAJOR names in television and a North-East football team are expected to join together for a celebrity football match in aid of a new feature film.

Former EastEnders actors, Big Brother contestants and former Darlington FC players will play at Northallerton Town Football Club's Calvert Stadium on Saturday, June 1.

They are playing in aid of an upcoming feature film 'Give Them Wings' that follows the struggle of wheelchair-user and meningitis sufferer Paul Hodgson.

Since inception, around £60,000 has been pledged to support the film which tells the story of the Darlington man's childhood struggles with the disease.

The film is expected to enter production later this year and will explore how he was left unable to move or speak in the years following his diagnosis, whilst highlighting how he made the best out of a bad situation.

On Saturday, June 1 former boxing champion Steve Collins, EastEnders stars James Alexandrou who played Martin Fowler, and Marc Bannerman who plays Gianni di Marco will join Big Brother’s Jason Burill and Celebrity Big Brother’s Colin Newell at Northallerton Town Football Club’s Calvert Stadium.

The Northern Echo:

EastEnders' James Alexandrou who played the character Martin Fowler in the BBC soap

Former Darlington FC Players, Paul Ward, Andy Toman, Peter Kirkham, Liam Hughes, Roger Wicks, Paul Robinson, Shaun Reay, Matthew Bancroft and Bradley Moncur will also join.

Mr Hodgson, who is classed as ‘severely disabled’ said his Darlington Football Club allegiance will feature in the film as part of his ‘struggle with acceptance.’

Saturday's match is being held in the hope that it can give Mr Hodgson’s film one final cash boost, before production officially begins.

Well known singer Toyah Wilcox will play Mr Hodgson’s mother Alice

, whilst Broadchurch’s Bill Fellows, Still Open All Hours’s James Baxter, and Waking The Dead’s Katie Sheridan will take up other cast roles.

Backing the film, Darlington-based PIMM Productions have helped to organise the football match.

Board member Ian Carter said: “Paul Hodgson knows Paul Ward - the former Darlington Manager really well - and they were talking about the project. Paul Ward took an instant interest and offered to do what he can to raise funds.” Mr Carter added: “PIMM Productions would like to express their thanks to Northallerton Town FC for allowing us to use their ground and also to Mark Walker from the club for all his assistance.”

Director Sean Cronin, who has worked on Harry Potter, The World Is Not Enough and the fifth Mission Impossible has been brought in to turn Mr Hodgson’s dream into reality.

He said: “I’m extremely proud to have been asked to direct, this heart rending, thought provoking story – it’s been a long road for the guys at PIMM with many twists and turns – all credit to them for reaching this point.”

All proceeds raised by the match will go towards the film.