MORE than 500 people came from all over the country to support a special charity football match in tribute to Steve Cooke from Northallerton, a tireless champion of community and junior football.

Earlier this year Steve, 60, and his family were given the devastating news that the cancer he has been battling since 2019 was incurable and he had months to live. Son David set up a Just Giving page to raise money for charities close to Steve's heart and a special football match was held at the Northallerton ground.

David said: "Back in March 2019 my family's life was turned upside down when dad was diagnosed with cancer. He went through extensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Dad stayed positive throughout the treatment and things seemed to be getting better until March this year when he was rushed into hospital. After more tests we were told the cancer had spread, and that the cancer was terminal.

"My dad has played a big part in football in the community. He was with Northallerton Town Juniors FC for 30 years, coaching and then as secretary, becoming chairman for five years. In 2000 he helped the club get the charter standard award which was massive for them.

"In 1999 he helped set up Northallerton Town reserves with Tim Burn, and in 2009 set up Northallerton academy team, which David Goodwin managed.

"Tim Burn and I decided we should do a charity match in dad's honour. My dad wanted to raise money for the cystic fibrosis centre at South Tees hospital, and cancer research for children, two charities close to our family's hearts. I just want to thank everyone who attended the charity game in honour of my dad."

David said it was "such an emotional day" for the family and for those close to his dad.

He added: "My dad was really overwhelmed with the support that everybody showed. Also a huge thank you for all the kind donations made, with £1,001 raised on the day.

"We want to say a special thank you to David Goodwin, Tim Burn and Craig Morley for helping to organise and also Mike Bickerton and all involved at Northallerton Town Football Club including Ainderby Social Club, Romanby for allowing us use of the facilities, kit and bar."

There was also special thanks to Adie Coulson, who raised £306 on the raffle.

Tim Burn said: "People came form all over the country to support Steve, he is such a well known and popular man, it was a fabulous day. I want to thank the match officials Glen Hart, Stephen Peake and Anita Sygmuta."

The just giving page is continuing to take donations