A trio of Sunderland’s FA Cup-winning legends went “behind enemy lines” to kick-off a charity football match.
Bobby Kerr, Micky Horswill and Richie Pitt were in Newcastle for the game which raised £2,500 for the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS).
Rosehill FC played a team representing the charity.
The organisation supports over 200,000 people in the UK with the crippling auto-immune disease Ankylosing Spondylitis.
The genetic disorder, similar to rheumatoid arthritis, attacks ligaments and joints in the body, effectively fusing them into bone.
It can leave many people disabled, disfigured and with a lifetime of pain.
Sufferer Paul Curry, who is being treated by specialist rheumatologists at The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and physios at Physio Plus in Heaton, commented that it was incredible to see so much support for those having to live with Ankylosing Spondylitis.
“I am blown away by the level of support shown here today by family and friends of people who suffer from this terrible disease,” said Paul, 34, of Durham.
“This charity football match is part of a UK wide month of events to celebrate 40 years of the NASS who were formed in 1976, and now have over 90 branches across the UK, including those in Tyne and Wear and Sunderland.
“There are people here donating £10 and £20.
“These are people who really don’t have a lot of disposable income.
“One lady wrote the charity a blank cheque for one of the auction prizes donated by the SAFC legends, and others have shoved notes, coins and pennies into our hands all day long.
“It has been overwhelming to say the least.”
Rosehill FC won the game 5-2.
Organisers hope to repeat the success of the event next year and Sunderland Former Players Association members Micky and Richie have offered to host a golf day in September should anyone be interested in taking part.
For more information about the NASS go to www.nass.co.uk.