RIVAL football supporters will go head to head tonight (Friday) in a charity football match held in honour of a Seagulls fan who died during the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Fans of Brighton & Hove Albion will be playing in the 11th annual match against their arch rivals from Crystal Palace in a bid to add to the £100,000 plus already raised in memory of Robert Eaton (right).
This year’s match will take place tonight at the Dripping Pan (far right) in Lewes.
Robert was a popular Albion supporter who was working in the Twin Towers on the day the planes struck.
A charity, the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund (REMF), was set up in his name and has gone on to raise thousands for footballing good causes and sports equipment for youth teams across Sussex and further afield – including a junior club in Robert’s adopted home of Queens, New York.
Also taking to the field will be Ricky Marlowe, Robert’s favourite Albion player, who will be travelling down from his Scotland base to take part (as he has done each year) and Paul Rogers, the former Seagulls captain.
Kick-off is at 7.45pm and entry is just £5 for adults and £2 for children – although under 16s go free if accompanied by an adult.
The bar will be open and hot food served via the snack hatch.
Gully’s Girls will also perform on the night and there will also be a raffle, including signed shirts.
All proceeds go to REMF.
Tony Langridge, chairman for the REMF, said: “This is a great cause and the perfect way to remember Robert, who lost his life in such tragic circumstances. Hopefully as many Brighton fans as possible will come along on the night. Every penny raised goes to people who really need it and in the past we have helped fund projects in Africa which helps orphans with HIV as well as buying the Seagulls Specials a new mini bus last year.
“Brighton have been going great guns on the pitch this season, but this is a brilliant opportunity for our younger fans to see a true great in action in Peter Ward (Sadly, the Sussex Express has heard that Peter Ward may not be able to play due to injury – Sports Ed). And, who knows, they might get to see the Albion beat Palace at least once this season.”
n THE heat is on in search for the Bonfire Cup winners 2012.
No fewer than seven local bonfire societies are eagerly contesting the second annual Bonfire Cup tournament being held at the Dripping Pan, Mountfield Road, Lewes, this coming Sunday (May 13).
Including reserves, that means around 100 players will get the opportunity to play on the Lewes FC pitch in the course of a day that runs from 10am to the conclusion of the Cup Final at around 6.30pm.
They will be joined by hundreds of friends and families cheering on their respective teams – not to mention a big contingent of the merely intrigued who will be taking advantage of free entry, a well-stocked Rook Inn serving Harveys’ Best and a snack bar with an array of delicious food available throughout the day.
All the Lewes societies will be represented submitting teams: South Street, Borough, Cliffe, Southover, Waterloo, Commercial Square and Nevill Juvenile. Plus the village of Newick’s bonfire boys are participating.
Event organiser Ben Ward is delighted with the response. He said: “It’s going to be a great day and a major fundraising opportunity for Lewes FC. To be honest we could have got even more Sussex bonfire societies involved but there simply isn’t enough time in a single day.
“Perhaps for next year we might look at a two-day tournament with the second day being for younger bonfire boys – and even bonfire girls.
“Given the amazing success of the Lewes FC Ladies this last season, a Ladies Bonfire Cup could be very popular.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING FROM RICHARD MORRIS