Soham Town Rangers are looking forward to representing the Ryman League at a fundraising tournament for their former player Joey Abbs and his friend Shaun Whiter after the pair suffered life-changing injuries in an horrific road accident.
Abbs and former Newmarket Town player Whiter were crushed in a hit and run crash in Suffolk while changing a tyre before being airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Former Cambridge United and Newmarket Town player Abbs, pictured turning out for Rangers, had been due to start training with Rangers when the accident took place near Newmarket on July 1. The 30-year-old suffered severe leg injuries and is still walking on crutches. Whiter, 27, had to have both legs amputated below the knee.
With the backing of the Cambridgeshire FA, the Ryman North club are teaming up with Newmarket Town, the Fulbourn Institute, Cambridge City and Cambridge United to play in an 11-a-side tournament during a #FootballFamilyDay at the League Two club’s Cambs Glass Stadium on Sunday 9 October with all proceeds going to the pair.
As well the football and food, drink and music being laid on, they’ll be a kid zone – consisting of Cambridge United’s inflatable pitch, Marvin the Moose, Mick George’s inflatable goal and Chip in the Skip – plus post-match entertainment and a charity auction.
Nearly £90,000 has already been raised at other events by Whiter’s family who set up a Just Giving online donation page with a target of £120,000 and organisers are hoping for a bumper gate at the 8,000 capacity ground to boost efforts to support the rehabilitation of the friends.
A spokesman said: “Let’s fill the stadium and really make a difference for Shaun and Joey. The outpouring of goodwill and support, both locally and nationally, resulting in a fantastic amount of money already being raised has been hugely appreciated by Shaun and Joey. However, with the life changing injuries sustained by Shaun, more funds are needed for the adaptations to his house and the prosthetic limbs he needs.”
Soham Town Rangers manager Dave Theobald said: “We’re delighted to be involved. We’ve got close links with all the clubs and it should be a fantastic time for everyone to get together and help two lads from the local football community.”
* Today (Sunday) Abbs and Whiter were due to take centre stage ahead of the East Anglian derby as guests of honour of Ipswich Town before they kick off against Norwich City at Portman Road.