A CELEBRITY football match is being held by one of the most famous grassroots clubs in the country and their renowned sponsors to help raise funds for causes nominated by two remarkable children who have fought a brave battle with cancer.

Bedale AFC, in association with sponsors, local sausage maker Heck Food Ltd, have raised thousands and won awards for their outlandish football kits helping to raise money for and awareness of prostate cancer in memory of Steve Garbett, who died in 2014 at the age of 62.

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On Sunday, April 10 they are holding the celebrity match to also raise funds for causes chosen by local youngsters Alfie Hutchinson, eight, and Bailey Cuthbert, 12, who have undergone gruelling cancer treatment over the past two years. They are hoping thousands of people will attend the match and fundraiser.

Bedale AFC chairman Martyn Coombs said: “In November 2020, Alfie Hutchinson was diagnosed with ependymoma, a rare brain tumour.

"Alfie has been through the most unimaginable things, but has been an absolute superhero and has fought the biggest fight.

"He underwent a craniotomy at the Great North Children’s Hospital, a ten and a half hour operation to remove a tumour at the back of his skull, followed by 36 hours in paediatric intensive care where he needed both radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

"He was due to have Proton beam radiation in Essen, Germany but this changed when the Covid restrictions came in and at a scan in Manchester they discovered more tumour.

The Northern Echo:

“Alfie went back to Newcastle to undergo yet more brain surgery and spent another 24 hours in paediatric intensive care.

"When recovered, Alfie returned to Manchester to undergo 33 treatments of proton beam radiotherapy after becoming unwell at treatment 31, he was taken into the Manchester children’s hospital for an infection in his Hickman line.

"He finished his proton beam radiotherapy in April 2021 followed by a further 16 weeks of chemotherapy.

"Alfie wants to help those who helped him so his share of the proceeds will be going to the Manchester Christie Hospital.

“In March 2020 the day before the first lockdown, Bailey Cuthbert was devastatingly diagnosed with osteosarcoma, bone cancer, in his right wrist.

"Within days he began ten gruelling months of intensive chemo at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle. Because of Covid, Bailey wasn't allowed a single visitor so with his mum Elaine, they were totally isolated from the rest of the family which was particularly hard for dad Dean and brother Freddie at home in Bedale.

The Northern Echo:

“Bailey endured intensive and relentless rounds of chemo resulting in horrendous life-threatening infections.

"In June he underwent 14 hours in theatre having limb saving surgery to remove the tumour from his wrist along with almost all the bones in his forearm.

"At the same time, they did a transplant using a bone from his leg to use in place in his arm, he also had two metal plates inserted that keep his wrist fixed in place.

“This was the first operation of its kind at the RVI. For seven months Bailey had to be fed through a tube and was helped during his hospital stay by Gareth Williams, co-ordinator of the children’s support project, funded by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation offering patients the chance to take part in recreational activities, indoor sports games and educational opportunities.

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“When Bailey finished his treatment and got back to Bedale CE Primary School, with the help of friends at school they managed to raise with gift aid, £17,000 for the Great North Children’s Hospital at the Royal Victoria Hospital and he wants his share of the proceeds from the celebrity football game to go to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”

Team Garby was set up by friends devastated after the death of Mr Garbett and with Bedale AFC, they have raised an astonishing £189,155 for Prostate Cancer UK, through a huge variety of events including bike rides from John O' Groats to Lands End followed by a run from John O' Groats to Dover, charity galas and the live TV launch of the team's ‘hot dog’ kit sponsored by Heck Foods.

A third of the proceeds from the celebrity match will go to the fund.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Coombs said organisers are hoping thousands of people will attend the event at Bedale Sports Club and community centre when the Junior Football Club will kick off with an exhibition game at 11.30am.

At 12.15pm there is a free 1k children’s fun run around the sports club and a 5k adult run.

Admission and car parking is free although everyone is encouraged to bring cash.

A farmers’ market will be held with vendors Bedale Bakery, Worsdale cakes, Reet Yorkshire, Gallones Ice Cream, Masham Cider Press, Historic Football Shirts, the Sunderland Fan Museum, the Heck Hot van, Sweetastic, Ben Ellis the Chocolatier and Kirsties Bonny Bows as well as face painting, hair plaiting, and a Prosecco bar.

The 1973 FA Cup winning Sunderland AFC captain Bobby Kerr will be on hand with a replica FA Cup, and visitors can also meet rising Boro star Josh Coburn, scorer of the winning goal in the FA Cup against Tottenham Hotspur.

The celebrity football game is being organised by Simon Grayson, with confirmed stars Ryan Sidebottom from Yorkshire CCC, Danny Mills, Ian Harte, Glynn Snodin, Andy Hughes, Bryn Law from Sky Sports, Stewart Downing, Craig Hignett, Grant Leadbitter, Gareth Williams, former Blyth Spartans player, Paul Heaton, founder of the Housemartins and the Beautiful South, Colston Smith, who plays Craig Tinkler in Coronation Street, and Chris Edwards from Kasabian.

It is hoped Kevin Phillips will also be playing. Players will be presented to Alfie and Bailey before the kick off at 2pm. The Heck Cup will be presented at 3.15pm by Bedale Town Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hallett.

Main prize in the raffle is a £100 voucher from the Travel Lounge in Bedale with dozens of other prizes drawn at 3.30pm followed by Scott Adams performing as Elvis Presley.

The day is scheduled to finish by 4pm.

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