FOOTBALLERS and spectators raised awareness of suicide and made hundreds of pounds for a charity which provides emotional support to those who are struggling to cope.
Sunday league teams Fairways White Rose and Manor Barn contested the friendly game at Catcliffe Recreation Ground, raising £621 for Samaritans.
The game was jointly organised by Fairways player Jordan Hughes, who lost his friend, Joshua Gil (23), of Brinsworth, to suicide in December, and Kieran Bartholemew, manager of Manor Barn.
Each player paid £10 to take part and a further £300 was raised by the more than 50 spectators who turned up on the day.
Catcliffe Parish Council waived the usual fee for use of the recreational ground.
Jordan (25), of Brinsworth, said: “I have a close friend who committed suicide and a few of the others lads on the team do too so it’s close to our hearts and we wanted to do something to give back.
“One of the main reasons I wanted to do it was for Joshua, and his family came down to watch.”
Jordan said he had been surprised by the level of support the game attracted.
“I didn’t expect that level of support,” he said.
“I shared a post about it on Facebook and it got quite a lot of shares.
“It gave me an inkling about how many people would come but I didn’t realise just how many.”
Jordan said suicide among young men was an issue which was gaining increasing awareness.
He said: “Male suicide seems to be an issue where, a couple of years ago, it wasn’t a big issue, but now, people are talking about it.
“We have put this out there with the hashtag #itsoknotbeok and #itsoktotalk because we wanted to make people more aware of it.
“Joshua used to be in the Royal Marines and he was one of the fittest people I ever met.
“As one of his best friends, I never knew what was going through his head.”
Jordan said having a close friend take his own life had put the issue into focus.
“When you hear stories about people doing it, you don’t realise it’s such a big issue and it doesn’t hit home until it’s someone close to you,” he said.
“By doing this, we are keeping his memory going.”
Fairways White Rose beat Manor Barn 4-2 in the friendly game.