The Only Way is Essex stars kick into action for Sport Relief

20th June 2017

As people in the East of England bend and stretch into shape for the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games on the 20th March, Tommie Mallett and Pete Wicks from The Only Way Is Essex paid a visit to The Welfare Park Football Club, a Sport Relief funded project based in Harwich, Essex.

Bill Davidson, a member of the Parkeston Residents and Welfare Park Association, applied for a £1,000 Comic Relief grant last year and with the money set up The Welfare Park Football Club. The funding paid for new goal posts, playing kit for the team as well as footballs and other training equipment such as bibs and cones.

Bill Davidson said “When I first arrived in Harwich I was amazed at how many kids there were just hanging around on the streets causing trouble and getting into no good. The kids had nothing to keep them occupied and as a result crime rates were increasing so I decided to do something about it, I took it upon myself to set up a football team and invited these kids to come and play.”

Bill added “We now have 22 boys who come to training every Tuesday and Saturday. These kids have gone from kicking a ball around with their mates and causing trouble to a fully functionally team who train hard and are determined to improve their football skills and fitness. This season we have been able to enter a league for the first time and are now playing matches against other local teams. Amazingly the crime rates in Harwich have now dropped and we are seeing less kids hanging around on the streets. Playing football twice a week has really improved these kids self-confidence, social skills and motivation – they now talk about wanting to get a good job and achieve something with their life.”

Tommie Mallett said “Spending the afternoon kicking a football about with the kids here at the Welfare Park Football Club has been great fun. Sport is a fantastic way of getting yourself motivated and improving your self-confidence, and Sport Relief funded projects such as these are a perfect example of how sport can really change people’s lives. I would urge people to sign up to the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on the 20th March – the money you raise really will make a difference to people’s lives right here in Essex.”

From Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March 2016 the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games are back and the whole of the South of England will walk, run, swim or cycle itself proud to raise vital cash to help people living incredibly tough lives. In fact, half of all the money raised by the public is spent right here in the UK, with the other half used to make a difference in the world’s poorest communities. Sign up now at



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About Comic Relief

Comic Relief is a UK charity which aim to create a just world, free from poverty – where everyone is safe, healthy, educated and empowered. Since 1985, Comic Relief has raised over £1 billion. That money has helped, and is helping, people living incredible tough lives, both here at home in the UK and across the world.

For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit

Comic Relief, registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland).

For the latest news, statements and exclusive content direct from the Comic Relief Press Office follow @ComicReliefNews(opens in new window).