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Event to kick of Windrush day celebrations

JOINING FORCES: Wesley Johnrose of Lancashire Football Association Advisory Inclusion Group; Tom Drake of Preston North End Community and Education Trust and Ashley Gibson of Lancashire Constabulary

AN HISTORIC sporting event will take place in Preston on National Windrush Day (June 22) to kick start the region’s commitment to the cause to kick racism out of football.

The match between Windrush United and Preston United will be the first ever commemorative match to be held on the day that officially recognises the huge contribution the Windrush Generation and their families have made to Britain’s cultural, social and economic life.

Sponsored by second division club Preston North End, the event also aims to raise awareness of football’s equality and inclusion organisation Kic It Out. The event is spearheaded by the founder of Preston-based Windrush Initiatives, Adrian Murrell, who is committed to changing perceptions and the treat- ment of the black African community.

He said: “This match means such a lot – it celebrates the arrival of the Windrush Generation, plus acknowledging Arthur Wharton, who played for Preston North End and was the first black professional football player. Windrush United are a team of men from the African Caribbean community, and in a further tribute, Leonard Johnrose, a former English professional football player who during his career played several clubs, including Burneley, Bury and Swansea City, will be managing the team.

It’s quite a momentous occasion for Leonard, too, as he is living with motor neurone disease, a rapidly progressing illness for which there is no cure. “Despite the fact that he’s living with this disease, Leonard feels honoured to be managing the team.”

PERMANENT

“Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of the black community coming together more and having a permanent football team.”

Preston United is an amalgamation of Preston North End players and Lancashire Constabulary, and as a mark of true team spirit, Preston North End have sponsored the kit of Windrush United.
The match, a free event, precedes the largest Windrush event in Lancashire, Windrush Festival, which takes place the next day, June 23, at Vernon Carus Sports Club in Preston.

Among the entertainers on the day will be father and daughter duo, Geno and Hayley Eccles, who auditioned for The Voice; Andy Quick Draw and Not So Famous DJs.

There will be a host of activities, including Barbados stick fighting and soca fit.

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