Councillors and staff team up for charity football match

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor Paul Reid, Deputy Mayor Councillor Cheryl Johnston and Councillor Timothy Gaston ahead of the MEA United match.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor Paul Reid, Deputy Mayor Councillor Cheryl Johnston and Councillor Timothy Gaston ahead of the MEA United match.

A football competition with a difference is set to kick off in Mid and East Antrim this summer.

The inaugural 'MEA United - Tackling Ovarian Cancer Together' showpiece match is planned to take place on 3 May 2018.

And the only political football on show will be that used on the night of Mid and East Antrim’s very own Match of the Day.

The players include local councillors from a range of political parties, Council staff, and community representatives.

The match has been endorsed by the Borough’s three largest football clubs, Ballymena United, Larne and Carrick Rangers.

Organisers have encouraged participation from all backgrounds, abilities and ages, and the match is aimed at raising awareness of ovarian cancer as well as boosting funds to support the crucial work of a leading cancer charity.

Mayor Councillor Paul Reid said: “The response to the MEA United match has been phenomenal so far.

“Sport is an incredible unifier and we have people from a wide range of backgrounds wanting to pull on the boots for a good cause.

“This event will be an informal, relaxed evening of sport, camaraderie and friendship. But at the forefront of our thoughts is the journey on which those who live with this cruel disease and their families endure.

“In a very small way, we will be coming together to show them they are not alone and to raise awareness and hopefully a few pounds for the incredible work of ovarian cancer volunteers.”

Deputy Mayor Cheryl Johnston said: "Cancer affects all of us at some time of our lives, be it personally or the diagnosis of a relative, friend or colleague.

"Eleven women die in the UK every day from ovarian cancer.

“Many of my constituents and members of Council staff will unfortunately know all too well the devastation this can cause.

"Tragically, Council's Chief Executive Anne Donaghy lost her sister Geraldine to ovarian cancer just over a year ago.

"Awareness of ovarian cancer is low, both among women and GPs, with two-thirds of women diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, according to experts.

"The MEA United event will raise awareness of this life-threatening condition and I am delighted so many people have already pledged their support.”

Councillor Timothy Gaston said: “Political differences pale into insignificance when you are dealing with an issue as major as this.

“I look forward to what promises to be a fantastic event and thank all those who have pledged to take part for their support.”

The game will take place at Ballymena Showgrounds from 6pm until 8pm. Members of the public are welcome to turn out to cheer the players on.

An informal post-match conversation will take place in the Des Allen suite at Ballymena Showgrounds straight after the game, with specially invited guests highlighting the risks of ovarian cancer, and the treatment, care and support on offer to those with the condition and their families.

A range of sponsorship activities are available, including match endorsement, sponsoring footballs, and the use of logos at the event.

For more information, contact chris.kilpatrick@midandeastantrim.gov.uk or megan.mackay@midandeastantrim.gov.uk