Pop sensation Pixie Lott joined family and friends for a charity football match in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK last Sunday.
Less than 24 hours after being crowned winning coach on The Voice Kids in front of a TV audience of millions, the singer led a Pixie Lott XI to a hard-fought draw against Concept Old Boys – a team that included her uncle and event organiser Ricky Bennett.
Among those cheering her on from the sidelines at Beckenham Town FC’s Eden Park Avenue ground was The Voice Kids winner Daniel Davies, who the night before won the hearts of the nation with his rendition of Anytime You Need A Friend, by Mariah Carey. The 14-year-old also kicked off the second half to cheers from fans. The match, watched by a crowd of hundreds, ended in a 4-4 draw.
The event raised £5,300 for vital research into dementia.
Pixie, who became an Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Research UK last year, has lost two grandparents to dementia. In 2014 she lost her 83-year-old grandmother Peggy Bennett to vascular dementia. And in 2012, she lost her grandmother from her mother’s side, Amelia Martin, to Alzheimer’s disease, aged 84.
Joining Pixie in her XI was her model fiancé Oliver Cheshire and The Theory of Everything actress Lucy Chappell.
Pixie, who scored a goal and set up another during the game, said:
“It’s been a crazy 24 hours, having watched the lovely Daniel win The Voice Kids last night and now being here playing in this amazing match for such a worthy cause. It was so special to have Daniel here watching the match with his family and helping to start the second half.
“I’m always happy to do what I can to support Alzheimer’s Research UK. This is our second charity football match for the charity and yet again it’s been so well supported. Dementia is a condition that’s touched the lives of so many of us, and days like this are a great way to raise money for such an important issue.”
“I’ve seen dementia on both sides of my family, and the work Alzheimer’s Research UK does is so important. I’m proud to be an Ambassador and delighted with how much has been raised.”
The Voice Kids winner Daniel said:
“I’ve had such a great time here at the football match, and just hope it helps the charity raise lots of money and awareness and that everyone had fun. I really enjoyed kicking off the second half. It’s been a great day.”
This was the second match Pixie’s uncle Ricky had organised for the charity. Last year, he helped raise £3,700 with a match in Kent, which boosted his fundraising for the Virgin Money London Marathon. Despite injury, Ricky still managed to walk the course in just over seven hours and raised £7,000 in total for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Ricky, who used to play as a semi-professional footballer, said: “It’s been an amazing day, and I’m so grateful to everyone for giving up their time to come along and support this event in memory of my mum Peggy and in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK. We’ve raised a really good amount of money, and it’ll make such a difference to their work. My mum would be so proud to have seen us all out today.
“My mum was a very strong woman. She brought us up singlehandedly. All of us grew up and went on to have our own families, and that was when Mum started to get all her grandchildren’s names muddled up. We joked about it at the time but that was the first sign.
“She lived on her own in a flat and we all took it in turns to see her. Eventually she had to move in with my eldest brother but after a year of that it became clear she needed full time care. She saw out the last few months of her life in a care home called The Oaks Care Home in Eltham, which did a fantastic job of looking after her.
“She worked so hard for all us with lots of different jobs to pay the bills, from cleaning jobs, to working as a secretary and a cafeteria manager.
“She was so proud of us. She loved football and has shaped my love of the sport. Sadly, by the time Pixie was holding concerts, her dementia was too progressed to go to one.
“That’s why we held this match, in honour of my mum who worked so hard for us all. I hope through dementia research there will come a time when no other families are robbed of their loved ones by dementia, like we have been.”
Ian Wilson, Executive Director of Fundraising and Communications at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We can’t thank Ricky and our fantastic Ambassador Pixie enough for holding another charity football match for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
“Not only has the event raised vital funds for the charity, but it’s also helped raise crucial awareness of a condition that affects over 850,000 people across the UK. We’re dedicated to ending the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia, which simply wouldn’t be possible with the generous support of people like Ricky and Pixie.”