Retired Blackburn Rovers player recruits Lancashire football stars to help Hoddlesden neuroblastoma patient

Former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Mark Patterson (inset) has set up the team to raise money for Sam Shaw

Former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Mark Patterson (inset) has set up the team to raise money for Sam Shaw

First published in News Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A HOST of former football stars from across Lancashire will lace up their boots to play in a charity match for a poorly boy.

Former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Mark Patterson, who lives in Darwen, has put together the side that will take on an AFC Darwen veterans side to raise money for Sam Shaw.

Already signed up to play on Monday, May 6 alongside Mr Patterson are former Rovers players Derek Fazakerley, Peter Devine, Chris Sulley, Mick Rathbone and Keith Hill, plus former Rovers assistant manager Asa Hartford.

Joining them will be Martin James (ex-Preston and Accrington), Nicky Spooner (ex-Bolton), Peter Nicholson (ex- Bolton), Jimmy Bell (ex-Accrington), John Thomas (ex-Bolton and Preston), Lee Cartwright (ex-Preston), Chris Lucketti (ex-Preston), Joe Hinnigan (ex-Preston) and John McGinlay (ex-Bolton).

The match will be the main attraction of a family fun day at the Anchor Ground, starting at 10.30am with bouncy castles, face painting and penalty shoot-outs.

Cash raised from the day will go towards the £250,000 needed to pay for essential immunotherapy treatment for four-year-old Sam, of Hoddlesden, who suffers from neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer.

Mr Patterson, who played more than 100 times for Rovers in the 1980s, said it would be a great day. He said: “Everyone in Darwen is pulling together for Sam. There is pretty much an event on every week.

“I was thinking of ways to do something, and me and AFC Darwen manager Kenny Langford put our heads together and came up with this. We are hoping the fact it is a Bank Holiday Monday will make it a big success.”

Mr Patterson said rounding up players to make up the Lancashire veterans team had not been difficult.

He said: “The players have been fantastic. Most of the lads I have spoken to have been really up for it. It should be a fantastic event for everyone.”

Organisers are looking for sponsors and anyone interested should contact commercial manager Steve Hurn on 07505 105131.

To support the Sam Shaw Appeal, donate online at www.justgiving.com/SamShawAppeal.

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