Tribute game for two Sharnbrook FC characters including former Rushden & Diamonds coach who 'inspired a generation of young men'

Sharnbrook FC is hosting the charity game this weekend. Image: Sharnbrook FCSharnbrook FC is hosting the charity game this weekend. Image: Sharnbrook FC
Sharnbrook FC is hosting the charity game this weekend. Image: Sharnbrook FC
Dedicated Sharnbrook FC volunteers Nick Cook and Mark Singleton died in recent weeks

A grassroots football club is to host a tribute game for two men who made a massive impact on their village football team.

Mark Singleton and Nick Cook, who both died in recent weeks, were a huge part of Sharnbrook FC.

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And when Chris Lander and Daniel Billington heard of Mark’s death in February, and the tragic news of Nick’s illness and subsequent death, they knew that

the men needed to be celebrated.

Within 48 hours from the heartbreaking news, Chris and Daniel had quickly gained huge interest and support from previous players, and they came up with the concept of a memorial and charity match.

Daniel said: “Nick and Mark were remarkable individuals who made grassroots football thrive in the village. Their dedication paved the way for countless young athletes to pursue their passion for the game.”

The event will raise money for Cancer Research UK and Parkinsons UK from which Nick and Mark suffered, respectively.

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Chris said: “We want this event to be a celebration of their lives and contributions.

"It’s an opportunity to have fun, remember them, and make a meaningful difference.

"The overwhelming response to the event has led to the formation of two full teams comprised of players with deep ties to Sharnbrook FC. Recognising varying abilities and experiences, the organisers ensure inclusivity, allowing players to participate at their comfort level.”

A club spokesman said: “Mark Singleton and Nick Cook were not just names in the football community; they were pillars of strength, passion, and dedication within Sharnbrook FC dedicating much of their time and efforts to others.

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"Nick and Mark, both beloved players turned coaches, inspired countless young athletes with their unwavering commitment to the sport and local community.”

Nick was brought up in the village and became a part of the Sharnbrook Football Club team.

He was firstly a player for the club, and didn’t want to hang up his football boots so became a coach, and a supporter. Nick coached a number of teams both at Sharnbrook and at Rushden & Diamonds Academy.

He inspired a generation of young men, who have continued to play football into their forties.

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Mark Singleton too was a player turned football coach. He was also at the forefront of fundraising efforts for the club, and was one of the masterminds behind the new fundraising project for the new football changing rooms.

Even when Mark was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, he was still present at the club and coached which showed the passion and determination from his character, even joining in with training session matches regularly.

Set to take place at Lodge Road, Sharnbrook on Sunday (April 14), the match is scheduled for a 10.30 am kick-off and will be followed by an auction of

promises and a raffle featuring prizes such as signed football memorabilia, an exclusive Premier League stadium tour, and sports tickets. Food and drink will also be available.

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The winning team will receive the Singleton-Cook Memorial Trophy, which will then be donated to the club to honour and acknowledge dedicated and exceptional players in coming years who have overcome challenges such as bullying, self- esteem issues, or contributed in an exceptional way to the club and community.

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