WORKERS from Wiltshire construction company Stonewood Group swapped bricks for kicks in aid of a cancer charity when they took to the football pitch for a fundraising match.
A team from groundworking division Earthstone Construction took on a combined team made up of workers from Stonewood Builders, Stonewood Partnerships and Stonewood Homes to raise £1,200 for the Ben Saunders Foundation, a charity that runs holiday homes for young people with cancer
It was set up by 18-year-old Bath City academy footballer Ben Saunders, the son of former Chippenham Town and Calne Town manager Tommy Saunders, just before he died from cancer in August 2020.
Earthstone Construction Director Shane Andrews, who played for Mr Saunders at Chippenham Town, said: “We wanted to do something for the charity and had played a game before lockdown so it seemed the right time to do it again. It’s a brilliant cause and Tommy has done a fantastic job with it.”
The charity, which has so far raised more than £375,000, owns and operates two holiday lodges near Cirencester to give young people undergoing treatment some respite. It has hosted 115 families in two years and will open a third lodge in September.
Mr Andrews added: “We had great support from Stonewood Group as well from Marshfield FC, who gave us use of their ground for free, Melksham Town, who supplied the footballs, Hayden Hubbard who refereed the game and clients Alide Hire, Kellaway Building Supplies, CLB Hire, Marches Precast and Keyline (Bristol and Swindon) who donated.”
The game ended in a 6-1 victory for Stonewood Builders. “They were a bit younger and fitter than us but it was a good game,” said Mr Andrews, who managed the Earthstone team but was unable to play after injuring his calf while playing for Yate Town against a Manchester United legends team recently.
The Stonewood team, led by Stonewood Homes Managing Director Joe Bergson, had to thank man of the match goalkeeper Mark Maidment for keeping them in the game at times. The teams played for the Tom Andrews Trophy, named after Mr Andrews’ grandfather who was a former chairman of the club. “It was really good of the club to let us play for the trophy,” he said.
Stonewood Group Chief Executive Officer Matt Aitkenhead, whose father Neill founded the firm 50 years ago this year, was among the 70 spectators made up of family and friends. He said: “Sport is a common theme that runs through the group because a many of us met through it and the values of good sportsmanship and teamwork are important to us.
“It’s great that sport on this occasion was a chance to bring staff and families together and raise money for a wonderful cause that makes a real difference to young people.”
The company provided a barbecue for players and spectators after the game. “It was a great evening,” said Mr Andrews. “Everyone enjoyed the game and the food and drinks after. It was a really good chance to continue building our teamwork and raise money at the same time.
“It was really encouraging that we had 35 players taking part and it meant we could have rolling substitutes. We would love to make this an annual event with more teams from the group so that we can raise even more money.”
Mr Saunders said: “Huge thanks to Shane Andrews and everyone connected to Stonewood and Earthstone, every penny raised goes to support young people with cancer and bereaved parents. Stonewood’s Matt Aitkenhead and [Chief Operating Officer] Ben Lang have been friends of mine for 30 years and it is lovely they have been able to support us.”
Find out more about the Ben Saunders Foundation at bensaundersfoundation.org.
Pictured: The Earthstone Construction team who took part in the Stonewood Group fundraising match at Marshfield FC