Inspired by his mother, a Peterborough man has helped raised £10,000 for her favourite charity after organising a series of charity football matches.
Marco Sementa handed over a cheque to MacMillan Cancer Support last Friday at the Yaxley FC stadium where all of the matches have been held over the past 16 months.
Marco (37) of Hampton Vale, has played for a number of local football teams, including Yaxley, Stamford FC, ICA Sports, Werrington FC, Bourne Town and Deeping Rangers.
He said: “I’ve always done lots of charity work - I did it pretty much anonymously as I was just trying to help.
“My mum Shayne passed away in 2012 and she’s always been proud of all the charity work and said ‘keep doing it’.
“In 2008 I injured my knee playing football and I had to stop playing. Just over a year and a half ago I thought I would get some old teammates together and raise some money for charity.
“It turned into five games and we’ve now had over 400 footballers play. Someone came over from Australia to play, and we’ve had brothers and fathers and sons playing.
“The youngest person to play was six and the oldest 59. It just sort of escalated.
“And we’ve had really good support from the local community. Companies have sponsored games and the kit.”
Mark works as a technical claims handler at insurance company RSA in Lynch Wood.
Before starting his football matches he was helping the firm with its fundraising.
His charity endeavours have even seen him meet former heavyweight world champion boxer Mike Tyson who he persuaded to sign two gloves. One was auctioned off which raised £120 for Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and the other one will be auctioned off at a later date.
“I had an Adidas Stormtrooper jumper on and he said ‘I really like your jumper’. It was a bit surreal really,” said Marco.
Marco has also raised thousands of pounds for several other charities, after taking part in activities including a skydive, abseil and raffle.
He paid tribute to his wife Amy and children Isabella (4) and Sienna (five months) for their help and understanding, stating: “They have been really supportive,” he said.
The 11-a-side charity football matches began in May 2016 and are co-ordinated on Facebook. And according to Marco he has no plans to slow down, with an exciting match planned for the future.
He added: “It’s amazing, I’m very humbled. The great thing about it is the support we’ve had - over 400 players from my generation of football to the current players.
“They have football, good support and good exercise - it’s win-win. It’s going to continue as long as people are still up for it. I’m playing my 50th game against the Posh Legends in five weeks time.”