Charity was the big winner as staff from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust tackled each other on the football pitch for the first time, with nearly £700 raised.
Spectators paid £5 to watch, while every player, including substitutes, paid £10 each to play and there was a raffle, which all contributed to an overall figure raised of £691.61, split between The RWT Charity and Well Wishers, Walsall Healthcare’s charity.
The money will be used to support a sensory garden for the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit at Hollybank House, which is a joint service for both Trusts.
Well Wishers won 7-1 in the game at Silverdale FC, Walsall, after RWT took an early lead. Right midfielder Ryan Bellingham put RWT in front after a mistake by Well Wishers goalkeeper, but then the tables turned in Walsall’s favour.
Left winger Aiden Justin was in four-midable form with four goals while captain Ben Malpass netted twice and substitute Conor Meehan the other as Well Wishers led 4-1 at half-time.
There was an executive flavour to the teams too, with Well Wishers featuring Ned Hobbs, Chief Operating Officer, and Russell Caldicott, Chief Financial Officer, while Emily Smith, Head of Communications, played for RWT and was the only woman involved.
Ben, Assistant Communications Officer for Digital, said: “It was a good day for us on the pitch and a great example of collaborative working between the Trusts to raise that amount of money.
“We’re a group of lads who enjoy playing together so we were over the moon to get the win and to carry on our winning streak.”
RWT captain Adam Loftus said: “It was a great day for the respective charities – to raise nearly £700 is exceptional and we’re delighted to play a part in that.
“A few of the lads have already mentioned a rematch. It was a case of stepping into the unknown for us.”
Georgie Westley, Well Wishers’ Fundraising and Engagement Manager, said: “We were really pleased with the way everything went, and to raise the amount of money we did was the icing on the cake. Hopefully this is the first of many joint initiatives between the charities. Thank you to everyone who supported the event.”
Amanda Winwood, RWT Charity Development Manager, said: “As one of the first joint charity efforts, we’re very proud and delighted that this has been a success – even if we wished the result had been better on the pitch! Thanks to everyone involved and hopefully it’s kickstarted more collaborative working with Well Wishers.”