Football

Stars lace up for London fire victims

Showbiz celebrities joined forces with top names in football yesterday morning (Singapore time) for a match in aid of those affected by the Grenfell fire disaster in west London.

A sell-out crowd packed QPR's Loftus Road stadium, less than 2km from the tower, for the Game4Grenfell.

The stars included Homeland actor Damian Lewis, Olympic running hero Mo Farah and singer Olly Murs, who turned out for teams managed by former England strikers Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer.

There was even a surprise appearance from Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who took up an unfamiliar role as goalkeeper.

The 54-year-old came on midway through the second half for former England No. 1 David James and helped maintain his side's 2-1 lead, but was eventually unable to prevent an equaliser and a 5-3 penalty shoot-out loss.

Actor Lewis told Press Association: "I grew up very close to here and play football in the shadow of the tower every week and have done for 25 years.

"We hope today will be a healing and festive occasion."

Takings from the match are going to families of those who died in the June tragedy, which claimed at least 80 lives.

About 2,000 tickets were given to residents, relatives of the victims, volunteers and members of the emergency services.

“Football sometimes gets a bad press but has the power to bring people together...”Ex-England striker Les Ferdinand

Ferdinand, who grew up nearby, said the match "wasn't about celebrity", but "about the community around Grenfell".

"Football sometimes gets a bad press but has the power to bring people together, people are going home with smiles on their faces," he added. - AFP

eplJose Mourinho