Charity match to support Thrapston footballer with leukaemia

Clockwise, from top left: The Thrapston Venturas team when they re-formed last year, Keith Morson, and a cup-winning team with Keith (far left, back row) at Nene Park. NNL-181023-143122005
Clockwise, from top left: The Thrapston Venturas team when they re-formed last year, Keith Morson, and a cup-winning team with Keith (far left, back row) at Nene Park. NNL-181023-143122005

It will be a trip down memory lane on Friday at a charity match to support a Thrapston footballer with leukaemia.

Keith Morson, who plays for Thrapston Venturas FC (TVFC), was diagnosed with the disease earlier this year and has vowed to fight it with everything he has.

Keith, 48, is considered a legend in UCL football having won several county Junior Cups in his career.

Now his Venturas side will take on a team of Thrapston Town ‘legends’, including many of Keith’s former team-mates and managers, at 7pm on October 26, at Thrapston’s Chancery Lane ground.

Wellingborough Town manager Gary Petts will organise and manage the legends team, and has helped Venturas’ manager Glenn Symons organise the event.

Gary said: “Anyone who followed UCL football in the 90s and early 2000s will know Keith or know of him.

“As his manager I know he would not be offended with my description as a no-nonsense footballer who would give nothing less than 100 per cent, hated losing, was passionate, couldn’t make a pass, never missed a header and every striker feared playing against him with his scary ‘untimed tackles’.

“A great player to have in your team.”

The match is being held to raise valuable funds for the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Anthony Nolan saves the lives of people of all ages with blood cancer by finding volunteers prepared to donate stem cells to those that need life-saving transplants.

An online fundraising page, which can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/keith-morson, has already raised more than £1,300.

The match kicks off at 7pm with the bar open and BBQ on offer. Entry is a £5 donation.

There will also be a raffle with prizes including tickets to attend Soccer AM live, tickets to see Northampton Saints and other prizes donated by local businesses.

Keith will be making an emotional appearance alongside his children Bethen and Connor and brother Paul to start the game as the Venturas defence.

Local legend referee Brian Hill, who officiated in the 1988 FA Cup final and at 1994 World Cup as well as for many years in the Premier League, has agreed to kick off the game, which will then be carried on by another local referee legend Gary Capps.

Doughboys manager Gary added: “Keith’s life was unexpectedly turned upside down as you can imagine but speaking to him, unsurprisingly, he has been truly humbled by the love and compassion shown by his family, friends, team-mates and colleagues.

“We would appreciate as many people as possible to come along for a fun evening out with the bar open and food available.

“There will be a number of players turning out to support Keith such as Phil Turner, Lee Purser, Simon (Spud) Tate, Mike Battams, Scott Atkinson, Ben Morgan, Marshall Dodd, Paul Smith and Paul Byers to name but a few.”

In a message posted on the United-Counties League Facebook page, Keith said: “I would like to make an appeal for all of my friends to either support the evening, donate on my JustGiving page and for 16 to 30-year-olds to register as stem cell donors...or all three!

“Thank you all so much for your support, you are amazing people.

“It’s moments like this that make you appreciate what you have standing in front of you every day of your life.

“So here goes, time to fight. I won’t let cancer finish my football career, that’s my choice not yours, so here’s to the next time I pull on the TVFC shirt and get back to reality.”

Anthony Nolan fundraising manager, Rowena Bentley, said: “We’re honoured to be chosen as the beneficiary of the Charity Football Match in support of Keith.

“The fundraising that the two teams are doing makes such a big difference to people with blood cancer.

“It costs £40 to recruit each person to the Anthony Nolan register, so fundraising is a vital part of our lifesaving work.

“The more fundraising we do, the more potential donors we can recruit onto the stem cell register, and the more lives we can save.”