Vintage clarets take to the pitch in epic match inspired by brave young Burnley dad who is fighting cancer

A line up of vintage Clarets are returning to the football pitch this weekend to play in a special charity match in honour of a popular and well known dad of one who is battling cancer.
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A line up of vintage Clarets are returning to the football pitch this weekend to play in a special charity match in honour of a popular and well known dad of one who is battling cancer.

Ex players, including George Oghani, David Eyres, Chris Brass, Graham Lancashire and Paul Smith will be playing against teams from Burnley based Borrowdale Utd and the Craven Heifer on Sunday at Barden sports ground.

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They were inspired by Mark Harrison known as Harry, who was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in July last year. Since receiving the news courageous Mark,who has undergone 20 rounds of chemotherapy, has become a champion fund raiser for Bowel Cancer UK and, to date, he he has raised the amazing total of £6,000.

Mark with his son JoshuaMark with his son Joshua
Mark with his son Joshua

Inspired by his positive attitude, his former teammates from Borrowdale United, the team Mark played with for several years, decided to organise the charity match and family fun day. Proceeds will be split between the bowel cancer charity and Pendleside Hospice.

Mark, who is 35 and now lives in Padiham with his wife Lindsey and their little boy Joshua who is three in July, said: "I never expected anything like this, I am blown away by this, what a fantastic gesture and quite an amazing line up for the match."

Dubbed Harry's Barmy Army v Vintage Clarets, players from the Craven Heifer pub in Harle Syke, where Mark used to be a regular, will also be taking to the pitch with the first of a series of matches kicking off at 1-30pm.

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The event, which has been organised by Chris Inckle and Chris Rogers, will include refreshments stalls and a grand raffle the first prize of a 40 inch smart TV and several signed Burnley shirts.

Mark with Lindsey and their son JoshuaMark with Lindsey and their son Joshua
Mark with Lindsey and their son Joshua

Although Mark will not be playing he will be cheering from the sidelines with Lindsey, Joshua and the rest of his family and friends. Mark met Lindsey in 2007 when the couple were both 21 and they tied the knot on the greek island of Kos in 2014.

A former pupil at St James Primary, Briercliffe, and Gawthorpe High schools, Mark was personally commended by Bowel Cancer UK for taking part in the Step up for 30 challenge in April as part of bowel cancer awareness month. The charity asked people to get active each day and sponsor them and Mark took up the challenge to help the charity raise over £250,000.

Mark, who works as a detective for Blackburn CID, said: "This was something I wanted to do to raise awareness of this disease as I came to terms with my own diagnosis.

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"It is the second biggest cancer killler in this country but the most treatable if caught early."

Mark, Lindsey and Joshua with their proud familyMark, Lindsey and Joshua with their proud family
Mark, Lindsey and Joshua with their proud family

Mark praised Dr Hussain and staff at Padiham Medical Centre for ensuring he got a prompt diagnosis and treatment, adding: "It's not something people like to talk about but the symptoms to be aware of are feeling extremely tired for no reason, unexplained weight loss and a change in toilet habits and also spotting blood in the bowl."

His positive attitude has been an inspiration to Mark's family and friends especially as he received his diagnosis just a month after he lost his granddad to the illness.

Mark said: "It has been a terrible year for the whole family but I am not letting this rule my life and at the moment I feel good and have just enjoyed two great little holidays with my family.

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"Of course I have good and bad weeks when my energy levels are down with the chemotherapy but I am enjoying life and not letting this stop me making plans for the future."

All are invited to the fun day on Sunday and Burnley Police and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service will be staging family activities. The day runs from 12-45pm to 4pm.

To make donation to the fund please click HERE