Published: 08:00, 26 July 2021
| Updated: 10:20, 26 July 2021
Gillingham FC’s legends helped to make Medway United’s annual end of year presentation one to remember.
A team led by Andy Hessenthaler took on United’s football coaches at The Howard School in Rainham - home of the growing grassroots club - before trophies were presented to the youngsters.
The event was staged for players, coaches, friends and family of Medway United. Money was being raised in aid of Making Miracles - a local charity who deal with Baby Trauma and Bereavement care.
Hessenthaler put together a star-studded team to take on United, with some of those players including his son Jake still playing in the Football League.
Among those in action were Chris Hope, Danny Kedwell, Josh Hare, Connor Essam, Nicky Southall, Neil Smith, Darren Hare, Jack Payne and goalkeeper Ross Flitney.
United were also delighted to welcome Gills legend Jim Stannard, who was there to support the team from the sidelines. Gillingham FC also helped support the event with their stadium announcer Doug Hudson on the microphone and club mascots keeping the kids entertained.
Soccer school manager Mark Davis said: “I would say the game was close. But class is certainly permanent as the Gills won the game 10-1.
“As they lifted the Making Miracles Cup it was smiles all round to accompany the fireworks that lit the sky.
“In what has been a strange year for football it was amazing to see so many smiling faces. Disney Princess Elsa was a huge hit. The rain held out - even the sun managed to break through as we celebrated an amazing year for the club.”
Hessenthaler stayed around to hand out some of the end of season trophies after receiving countless requests for selfies.
Mr Davis added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our amazing coaches that help make this club what it is. On top of all the volunteers that make the club run smoothly.
“We would like to thank all our sponsors in particular Mark Deeks (who scored United’s consolation in the match with the final kick of the game) of Heating Smart and Jason Smith of Bedfont Scientific for their continued support as well as The Howard Academy Trust who continue to support our vision for this club.
“Here’s to next year. We need to win the trophy back from the Gills.” The club also wanted to thank Binksybouncy Castle Hire for their help.
John Thrower - head of soccer school development at the club - was thrilled to see the kids enjoying themselves and able watch some legends in action.
He said: “With Covid restrictions ever present last year halting sessions across the country it was great to allow these kids of our popular Soccer School to have something handed back to them.
"Although these kids may not know who these Gills Legends were they had the opportunity to watch a class act put on display by Andy and his team and give them something to aspire to.
"I am hughly proud of the Soccer School coaches and likewise our other committed coaches across the Medway United set-up for their continuous development and opportunity they give the kids."