STARS of TV soaps Coronation Street and Hollyoaks will play in a charity football match against a team drawn from soldiers of The Mercian Regiment.
The game will be held at Hyde United’s ground in Walker Lane, Hyde, Cheshire, on Friday, July 18, kick-off 7pm. Entrance fee is £5 per adult (£1 concessions), with proceeds going to the Army’s national charity, the Army Benevolent Fund.
Soldiers from each of the regular battalions within The Mercian Regiment (1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions) are vying for places in the side. Final selection of the squad takes place later this week.
The Mercian Regiment recruits its soldiers from Cheshire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Worcestershire. Many of its soldiers have recently served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Brigadier Mike Griffiths, the Commander of 42 (North West) Brigade, the Army Brigade covering North West England and the Isle of Man, will be attending the game. He will be introduced to the players of both teams before the start of the match.
The Army Benevolent Fund - also known as “the soldiers’ charity” - assists soldiers, former soldiers and their families in times of need. It must raise £5.5m every year to carry out its vital work. More information is online at www.armybenfund.org.
Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Al Jones, of The Mercian Regiment, one of the organisers of the match, said: “Our guys are really looking forward to this game and meeting, as well as playing against, the TV stars. We are very grateful to the cast and support staff of Coronation Street and Hollyoaks for agreeing to play against us and to Hyde United for hosting it. We hope the game raises lots of money for the ABF.”
The following day, Saturday, July 19, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) will be parading through the city centre streets of Chester to mark being granted the freedom of the city, as well as returning from a six-month operational tour in Iraq.
The battalion (of 600 men, mostly from Cheshire) was based at Basra, Baghdad and the port of Umm Qasr from December 2007 to the end of May 08.