Footballers net cash for charities

Mark Taylor with some of the fund-raising players.
Mark Taylor with some of the fund-raising players.

A charity seven-a-side football tournament held in aid of ex-Whitley Bay footballer Mark Taylor, St Oswald’s Hospice and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) took place recently and raised more than £4,000.

Staged at Monkseaton High School, the fifth annual United for Mark event attracted more than 250 local players.

The tournament, which has grown year-on-year, has raised thousands of pounds for Mark himself, St Oswald’s Hospice, the MND Centre at the RVI, and the MNDA.

Even Newcastle United legend Peter Beardsley donned his boots and took part the previous two years.

Mark, aged 34, and from Monkseaton, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2009, just months after playing at Wembley for Whitley Bay FC in the FA Vase final.

Reflecting on this year’s tournament, Mark said: “Every year I’m so grateful for the huge amount of support received. The event just keeps getting bigger and better and it’s fantastic to be able to raise awareness of MND and the charities the event supports.

“Thank you so much to all of the wonderful people who have been so generous with their time, money and donations. We couldn’t hold the day without them all. We raised a huge £4,225 on the day and I’ve also topped this up with £400 from the profits of my book – A Brief History of Mine.

“The players, spectators, people who donate auction and raffle prizes, and 42nd Street in Whitley Bay, are just a few of the people who make this event possible each year. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.”

Some of the money raised will be donated to St Oswald’s Hospice and the MNDA, both of which have been hugely supportive to Mark.

He added: “Last year I visited St Oswald’s for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help me cope with stress and anxiety. This immediately made an impact, even more than medication. By being able to donate a chunk of the money raised to St Oswald’s is my way of saying thank you.”

If you’d like to donate to United for Mark, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfund ing/unitedformark2017