Celebs will come together for Grenfell victims
A sell-out crowd is expected at Loftus Road in west London this afternoon as footballers, musicians and actors come together for a charity match in aid of the Grenfell Tower victims and survivors.
The Game4Grenfell is the brainchild of former QPR and England striker Les Ferdinand, who grew up on the Lancaster West Estate beside the 24-storey tower, which caught fire on 14 June killing at least 80 people.
More than 14,000 tickets for the match between two celebrity sides have been sold, with a further 3,000 given to survivors, residents, volunteers and the emergency services.
Ferdinand is director of football at Queens Park Rangers and said he felt “helpless” watching TV coverage of the fire after family members alerted him to what was happening.
“When I came into the football club that morning I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who just stopped and donated and wanted to help,” he told Sky News.
“We (QPR) are one mile away and I was thinking ‘how can we help?’.
“We are just giving something back.
“I felt helpless watching it all unfold on television and so did many other people.
“When you live somewhere for that length of time it’s going to have an effect on you.”
Ferdinand will manage one team, while former England captain Alan Shearer will coach the other with players like Peter Crouch, Shay Given and Jamie Redknapp joining double Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah, actor Damien Lewis, grime star Tinie Tempah, singer Olly Murs, musician Marcus Mumford and a host of other celebrities.
“It’s certainly not going to fix a lot of the problems around this disaster and the response as well, but it’s providing a little bit of positivity, which can only help,” Mumford told Sky News.
“The funds raised from it are going to go to the survivors and the wider community.
“This is the beginning of a really long road for north Kensington.”
More than 800 boys and girls have attended six weeks of free football coaching sessions organised by QPR at the Westway Sports Centre, which is just a goal-kick from the scene of the tragedy.
Schoolboy footballer Teddy Lawrence said the classes have brought children from the estate together during what has been a “very sad summer”.
“You go to shoot and you look up and it’s just there,” the 11-year-old told Sky News as he trained at the Westway.
“It’s so sad.
“But people here love football and this game is bringing everyone together, it’s just brilliant.”
:: Game4Grenfell will be broadcast live on Sky 1 with coverage starting from 2.30pm.