Blues star to appear at charity match in memory of non-league footballer

Former amateur footballer Jerry Thorpe

A charity football match is taking place in memory of Jerry Thorpe who passed away from Motor Neurone Disease in 2021 - Credit: Donovan Blake

A charity football match has been organised in memory of a well-known Suffolk non-league footballer.

Jerry Thorpe, a popular figure across the non-league football scene for 30 years, died of Motor Neurone Disease in 2021. 

He was diagnosed with the condition in 2019.

Jerry leaves two sons and a daughter.

"He was such a warm person. You'd always remember him", his eldest son, Benjamin said.

"He loved talking to people and encouraged those who suffered with Motor Neurone Disease to talk more and open up.

"He believed that would be beneficial to both them and to other people."

Throughout his career, Jerry played for the likes of Ipswich Wanderers, Bury Town, Sudbury Town, Framlingham and Clacton. 

Jerry Thorpe and his son, Benjamin

Jerry Thorpe and his son, Benjamin - Credit: Donovan Blake

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The charity match will take place on Saturday, June 18 and will feature two teams made up of former teammates of Jerry's and prominent ex non-league footballers. 

As Jerry was a fan of both Ipswich Town and Tottenham Hotspur, Blues legend John Wark, and former Spurs player Ruel Fox will also be making appearances.

Ruel Fox in action for Norwich against Oldham

Ruel Fox in action for Norwich against Oldham - Credit: Archant Library

One of the event organisers, Steven Swift, said he hopes to have around 500 people in attendance and highlighted Jerry's appreciation for the non-league football community after his MND diagnosis. 

"He received messages of support from so many people in the local community," he said.

"Even football personalities such as Jose Mourinho, Glenn Hoddle and Mark Robson sent him video messages.

"I think having support like that brought Jerry a lot of happiness in those final months."

Organisers have worked closely with the Motor Neurone Disease Association, with funds going to both the national and Suffolk groups.

John Wark in action for Ipswich against Millwall in May 1996.

John Wark in action for Ipswich against Millwall in May 1996. - Credit: Archant Library

Roger Widdecombe, regional fundraiser at the MND Association, said without "amazing support" like this, "the MND Association simply would not be able to provide its vital support services, fund research to find a cure and campaign and raise awareness of MND."

Sportswear brand, Hummel, have recreated the iconic Tottenham Hotspur kit of the late 1980s for the charity match, with the two teams playing in the white home and yellow away strips. 

A fundraiser raffle will also feature a pedant signed by the current Tottenham Hotspur squad and a team-signed ball from Ipswich Town. 

The match will kick-off at 2pm at the ground of Ipswich Wanderers FC, Humber Doucy Lane in Rushmere.

Looking ahead to the match, Benjamin said: "Dad would love to see us bringing people together and putting a smile on their faces.

"That's exactly what he would have wanted."