Preston North End legends to face Bamber Bridge Vets for a worthy cause

Former players from Preston North End and Bamber Bridge are polishing their boots ready for a charity football match.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 18th April 2022, 4:45 pm

A PNE legends side will take on Bamber Bridge Vets at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium on Sunday, May, 1, to raise funds for St Catherine’s Hospice.

St Catherine’s provides palliative and end-of-life care in Central Lancashire, through specialised services at the hospice and in people’s homes.

It is the second time in nine months that the teams have come together on the pitch for a worthy cause.

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In July last year, they faced one another to fundraise for research into Motor Neurone Disease and raise awareness of the condition.

That was inspired by former Bamber Bridge player George Melling who was diagnosed with MND in his mid-30s.

Melling was guest of honour at the game and presented the trophy at the end of the game.

Sadly, Melling died earlier this month, aged just 37. Tributes poured in from the football world for the player who had turned out for a number of clubs in the North West including Longridge Town, Lancaster City, Kendal Town, Clitheroe, Colne and Altrincham.

John Welsh of the PNE Legends XI tackles Bamber Bridge Vets' Mitch Newsome. Pic: Steven Taylor Photography

His life will be honoured at the game on May 1 with a minute’s applause.

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Organisers will be hoping the forthcoming match can be as successful as the game last summer.

A crowd of around 1,200 watched the PNE legends win 5-3 with goals from Ross Wallace (2), Stephen Elliott (2) and Paul Gallagher.

Action from the PNE Legends v Bamber Bridge Vets charity game last July, with Ian Bryson and Chris Holland in action for PNE. Pic: Steven Taylor Photography

Kenny Mayers, Simon Carey and John Bolton netted for Bamber Bridge Vets.

That day, North End wheeled out some big guns from seasons gone by, Jon Macken, Chris Humphrey, John Welsh, Wallace, David Buchanan, Elliott, Ian Bryson, Chris Holland, Barry Nicholson, David Lucas, David Eyres, Graeme Atkinson, Steve Wilkes, Warren Beattie and Gallagher in the squad.

A strong PNE legends XI is being lined-up for May 1, giving PNE supporters the chance to see their favourites from yesteryear.

Kick-off is 2pm, with the gates open from midday.

Admission is by donation, with a suggestion of £5 adults – children go free.

There will be a licensed bar open, food available, with a bouncy castle for the kids.

There is a VIP matchday package available too, costing £40.

Those who can’t make the game but want to donate can do so at