Former professional footballer, EastEnders actor and TV chef reveal why Sussex charity match was arranged
Former footballer Kevin Cooper is looking forward to managing a team of celebrities for a charity match in Sussex this weekend.
A whole host of famous faces will be involved in the event at Steyning Football Club on Sunday (November 28).
Among the Sellebrity Soccer players is TV chef Dean Edwards, who regularly appears on ITV's ‘Lorraine'. He came second in BBC's Masterchef Goes Large in 2006.
Also included in the line-up of singers, actors, reality stars and sport stars are; Dan Osbourne; James Argent; Adam Smith; Calum Best; Luke Trotman; Joe Sealey; Matt Lapinskas; Nev Wilshire; Josh Ritchie; Aaron Sidwell; James Hill; Liam Macdevitt; Man Like Haks and Dean Gaffney,
"I feel very fortunate to be part of a brilliant group of celebrity players that come together to support some really important charities and causes," Dean Edwards said.
"I’ve actually been playing with Sellebrity since 2015 so I guess I’m one of the OGs! I’m hoping to play as long as my aging legs will let me."
The event will be in aid of Brighton-based children charity Rockinghorse, which Dean said is 'hugely important'.
He added: "[It] funds vital medical equipment and support to improve life for sick children in Sussex.
"I can only imagine what the families being supported by this amazing charity are going through.
"I have a 12-year-old daughter called Indie myself, she’s my world and can’t imagine how I would feel if something happened to her, once you look at it in those terms so can see why these charities are so important."
We asked Dean how we would rate his football skills and if there was any friendly competition amongst the players.
He answered: "Well I won’t lie, I think my outstanding performance days are behind me but back in the day I like to think I could play a bit.
"My preferred position is centre back but Coops, the Sellebrity boss, popped me up front one game and I notched a couple so there might be life in the old dog yet."
Dean joked that 'there’s no such thing as a friendly' in his eyes, adding: "I’m buzzing for it [the match].
"If you’ve not attended one of these games before then please come down as you will be in for a treat. It’s always a great occasion so please come and support this amazing charity."
Also taking part is actor Matt Lapinskas, who starred in BBC soap opera EastEnders from 2011 to 2012. He was also a contestant in the eighth series of Dancing on Ice.
He said: "Supporting this charity means that they are able to provided vital medical equipment for sick children in the Sussex area and do such fantastic work.
"I love my football and it’s a dream to play at some amazing grounds raising money for many different charities.
"It’s always friendly competition but it’s football and no one likes to lose but the main thing is that the people that come to watch are having a good time and that’s what we try to provide
"I can’t wait to play this Sunday and if you haven’t got your tickets yet then what a better way to see some faces from the TV, have a picture and also help raise money for such an amazing foundation."
The celebrity team manager, former professional footballer Kevin Cooper, is AFC Wimbledon's club record goalscorer, with 104 goals in 99 appearances, in all competitions between 2002 and 2004.
He co-founded Sellebrity Soccer nine years ago.
In that time, £1.3million has been raised for various charities and organisations.
"We only ever used to do pro stadiums but after lockdown, a lot of non leagues clubs with their chosen charities have been in touch," he said.
"With the way the world has been the last 18 months, it's giving everyone that feel good factor.
"It's why we're coming into the stadiums for the first time.
"It's nice to get out there and enjoy a game of football.
"We're happy to come to any stadium or football club."
The celebrities will be facing a team put together by Rockinghorse FC.
Kevin explained: "We usually do celebrities v celebrities but, with what this is for, we wanted to do it and play against them.
"It usually takes a few months to plan a game but this one was quite last minute.
"It will give them a boot just before Christmas which is great. We are pleased to be doing the game."
Kevin said every celebrity involved is 'subject to work commitments'.
Gates at the Shooting Field will open at 2.30pm, with the match between Rockinghorse FC and Sellebrity XI, kicking off at 4pm.
Before the game, there will be a raffle and fundraising games. Click here to buy tickets.
Click here to find out more about Sellebrity Soccer.