London (AFP) – Showbiz celebrities joined forces with top-name footballers on Saturday 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, a mile from the tower, for the Game4Grenfell, with stars including Homeland actor Damian Lewis, Olympic running hero Mo Farah and singer Olly Murs turning 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.
“I grew up very close to here and play football in the shadow of the tower every week and have done for 25 years,” actor Lewis told the domestic Press Association.
“We hope today will be a healing and festive occasion.”
Ticket money is going to families of those who died in the tragedy, which claimed at least 80 lives in June.
Around 2,000 tickets were given to residents, relatives of the victims, volunteers and members of the emergency services.
Ferdinand, who grew up nearby, said the match “wasn’t about celebrity. It’s 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.