Willow blog

Celebs kick-off for Willow

July 10, 2015

Ex-Arsenal players, celebrities and some surprise guests took part in a charity football match at Hendon FC on Sunday 5 July in aid of Willow.

The event was organised by Arsenal fan Gary Hayward and his friends to raise funds for Willow – set up by Arsenal legend, Bob Wilson and his wife, Megs – the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days.

The Willow AllStars team was made up of TV personalities, including Channel 4’s Alex Brooker and comedians Doc Brown and Elis James who played alongside football fans who had raised sponsorship to join the team. They played against The Arsenal Charity Team, which included Jordan Stephens from Rizzle Kicks, Tommy Walsh and Omar Riza among others.

Although the Willow AllStars made a promising start, with Doc Brown scoring the first goal of the game, the more experienced Arsenal side worked well together to win the match, 6-2. Many locals, Willow supporters and Arsenal fans from far and wide, came along on the day to enjoy the game and post-match entertainment. They gave generously in the bucket collections, raffle and auction, which together with the players sponsorship, helped to raise £3,000 for Willow.

This is the fourth charity football event organised by 26 year old Gary from Borehamwood, he said: “Bob Wilson is a childhood hero of mine and when I found out about Willow and the way that Special Days help so many young adults and their families during the toughest of times; it was an obvious choice for us to raise money for them. I’d like to thank Hendon FC for their generosity – it was a fun afternoon and lots of people came along to support us. I’m really pleased with the amount of money we have managed to raise.”

Former Arsenal goalkeeper and Willow Life-President Bob Wilson said: “What a fantastic event! It’s thanks to the generosity of individuals such as Gary, who dedicate so much of their time to support Willow, that many more young adults can enjoy a Special Day of their choosing.”

Big thanks to all our fantastic Willow volunteers who helped on the day.

Photographs courtesy of Michael Baffour.