Eastwood & Kimberley Charity All Stars FC (sponsored by Decathlon UK), an off-shoot of the Notts Sunday League outfit Eastwood & Kimberley, and fronted by that of Rhys Watkinson, are closing in on their first 10k raised for charity, since they burst onto the scenes last summer.
Something in which Rhys and his teammates, and friends, have always been wanting to do, the Eastwood & Kimberley All Star, who has himself played football at a decent level whilst at Eastwood Town, and whom is now a referee with close to 150 games under his belt, is delighted with their progression to date.
Delighted, even if the project did come from a great loss, Rhys’ beloved mum, well-known in the area, passed away having contracted covid in early 2020, and was one of the first in the county to do so – her son though, has turned it into something worthwhile.
Talking to the Nottingham Sport Rhys said: “We were always looking at doing something for charity, then, when my mother passed away, we put on a fundraiser (against a Kimberley Miners Welfare Legends XI, raising funds for Rumbletums) in her memory, and it’s carried on from there.
“She was only 53 when she died, and was heavily involved in both football, and the community (that much is visible from the outpouring of love and support at the time, and since).
“A Derby fan, she was well-known in Kimberley, and the charity match the following year (August 2021) drew well over 400 spectators.
“We did the same again shortly afterwards (Barry Newton Memorial Fundraiser), and now, although we’ve only played a handful of games, as a ‘charity’ club, we’ve already raised over 7k.”
Playing fortnightly, on a Friday night, Rhys is delighted that he can draw on a pool of more than sixty players, both male and female, of varying ages between 16, and late 40s, and the interest continues to grow.
That interest sees fixtures scheduled until late July, at least, for the charity ‘friendlies,’ including an inter club match at Pride Park on May 20, and a trip to Ramsgate, to face Kent side, Old Pepys FC, on June 25, in which to look forward to.
In addition to those charity friendlies the Eastwood & Kimberley All Stars have also been entered into the United Charities League, from which the fixtures, beginning soon, have been announced this week.
Drawn into the Midlands Group B, there will be games against side from Derby, Birmingham and Cambridge as the All Stars are set to face that of Ely Charity FC (Cambridge), Footprints FC (Nottingham), Goalacticos FC (Birmingham), and SEN United (Derby), with the Goalacticos side semi-finalists in last seasons’ Michael Walford Memorial Trophy.
Rhys added of the competition: “With us already having a number of planned matches through to July, this is a great addition to the schedule.
“All the monies raised on the night is donated to charity, and it helps us with competitive, game experience, for our Sunday league side as well.”
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @EnKFCofficial former Nottingham Forest defender Kelvin Wilson in action from the Tina Cooke Memorial Cup.