Thursday 14 November 2019

Showbiz and soccer stars team up for Game4Grenfell

The charity match at QPR’s Loftus Road stadium, just a mile from the tower, kicked off before a sell-out crowd.

By Thomas Hornall, Press Association

Actor Damian Lewis and comedian Jack Whitehall have teamed up with stars from the football world to raise funds for people hit by the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The Game4Grenfell at QPR’s Loftus Road stadium, just a mile from the tower, kicked off before a sell-out crowd.

Among those taking part was Homeland actor Damian Lewis, who told the Press Association: “I grew up very close to here and play football in the shadow of the tower every week and have done for 25 years.

Team Ferdinand's (left to right) Captain singer Marcus Mumford, presenter Ben Shephard, Sir Mo Farah, Damian Lewis, DJ Spoony and Peter Crouch celebrate after Sir Mo Farah scores the first goal of the match during Game4Grenfell, (Victoria Jones/PA)

“We hope today will be a healing and festive occasion. It’s important to let them know we haven’t forgotten.

“I’m in the midfield engine with Mo Farah – he’s certainly going to do the tracking back.”

Comedian Jack Whitehall, nursing an injured arm, insisted he would still play.

He said: “I think they want me to go up against Jamie Redknapp. It’s kind of unfair but they think it will be funny.”

He added: “Today is an amazing cause, a thing that everybody wanted to get involved in. It’s wonderful and I’m really pleased to be a part of it.

Whitehall hinted the game would hold “some surprises”.

The stadium, which houses some 20,000, erupted in cheers as the likes of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, singer Olly Murs and former England goalkeeper David Seaman ran onto the pitch.

All ticket money is going to the Evening Standard’s fund for those touched by the tragedy, which claimed at least 80 lives in June.

About 2,000 complimentary tickets were given to those directly affected, including residents, relatives of the victims, volunteers and members of the emergency services.

Global Gift Gala 2016 – London

Football presenter Chris Kamara said: “For everybody involved, it’s just a way of giving something back.

“For the club to do this for the community is amazing.”

The teams were led by former England strikers Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand.

Ferdinand, who grew up in the area, played football with Grenfell survivor Nicholas Burton as a youngster.

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