Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor was on hand for the young football stars of the future in memory of former academy player Jordan Thompson.
Since the Toma Fund Football Tournament was launched five years ago, Steven has been patron of the charity which to date has raised more than £850,000 for children, teenagers and families hit by cancer.
Andrea, who set up the fund with husband Dave after Jordan died aged 15 from leukaemia, said: “Each year we have more and more teams enter, and this time was the first we had to turn people away. The tournament was full within a week.
“Jordan was always playing football and cricket at tournaments like this, and those were the best years of our lives when he was playing.
“This is one of my favourite events that we run to raise funds and we hope it will bring in about £5,000.”
In total, 42 teams of under 9s and under 10s from across the region competed for the coveted first place and the Toma Fund Trophy in the all-day celebration of grassroots football organised Gary Ives, Jordan’s former coach at the Newcastle United Football Academy.
While each team had winning on their mind it was the appearance of United player Steven that caused most excitement with his young fans eager to get his autograph and a photo with their on-field idol.
Steven said: “I remember being one of these lads coming to these tournaments. It’s great events like this are well attended and help the Toma Fund raise the money they need.” The growing success of the day, held at the NUFC Academy ground off Coach Lane, Benton, is in part thanks to the work of Gary, the academy’s coach.
He said: “This year the tournament filled up so quickly which was great to see. We always have our scouts at the event as it is a great chance for recruitment and a chance to spot emerging talent.”
Winning the under 9s competition were Boro Rangers with runners up Cramlington Juniors.
The under 10 winners were Boro Rangers, and the runners up were Ponteland United.
Andrea added: “Both Gary and Steven carried Jordan’s coffin at his funeral and have been involved with the Toma Fund since the start.
“This is always a fantastic day and one of the best fundraising events in the year, seeing all of the children doing what Jordan used to love doing.”