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Match Officials

Championship referees set for charity challenge!

13 April 2023

Select Group 2 referees are set to show their support for coach Gary Willard and raise money for Leukaemia Care.

Wanting to stand in solidarity with Gary, who is currently undergoing treatment for blood cancer, the group got together and chose to embark on the ‘3 Peaks Challenge’ this summer.

They will also be joined by a number of PGMOL support staff, climbing to the summit of the highest mountain peaks in Scotland, England and Wales in 24 hours.

Gary is a hugely-popular figure within the group and the best wishes of all at PGMOL are with the former FIFA, Premier League and EFL referee as he continues to battle the illness.

The gruelling challenge will begin in the early hours of Wednesday 7th June in Scotland and finish the following day in Wales, with the group having eclipsed the three highest peaks in the United Kingdom. 

Speaking on behalf of Select Group 2, referee James Linington said: “Since 2016 when Select Group 2 was formed, we have supported local and national charities every year as we understand and recognise the important work they do day-in, day-out. Any difference we can make is a step in the right direction.

“One of our coaches, Gary Willard, has been crucial to our individual and group successes, and we were all devastated to hear recently that Gary had been diagnosed with Leukaemia. We wanted to show our solidarity and support for him so it was decided we would take part in a group fundraising event, all in aid of Leukaemia Care.

“This momentous challenge will most definitely be a real test of character for the group and we will need to rely on our resolve and resilience to complete this once in a lifetime opportunity for such a good cause. All of us are extremely excited for the challenge and, more importantly, excited at the prospect of raising much needed funds for a great charity in Leukaemia Care.”

Gary himself said: “When I heard that members of the Select Group 2 referee team and support staff had decided to take on the 3 Peaks Challenge in aid of Leukaemia Care, I was both delighted and grateful to them all.

“Leukaemia Care is a fantastic charity, supporting those diagnosed with the disease along with their families. I would like to wish everyone taking part the best of luck and to thank them for being such a great bunch of friends and for all their ongoing support.”

Leukaemia Care’s CEO, Zack Pemberton-Whiteley commented: “We’re super excited that the Select Group 2 referee team chose Leukaemia Care for this challenge. We’re dedicated to supporting everyone affected by leukaemia across the UK and all funds raised from this challenge will go directly to providing much needed information, advice and support to patients and their families.”

The group will be ready for kick off in early June, driven by fact they are showing their support for Gary and Leukemia Care. You can show your support by sponsoring them HERE..

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