Torrential showers and last-minute celebrity cancellations proved no match for community spirit when a charity football game ran into problems.
Volunteers with Red Wellies, the Lisa Wiles Brain Tumour Support Fund, spent months organising the event at The Walks in King’s Lynn on Sunday and were looking forward to their biggest-ever fundraiser.
But, at the eleventh hour, contractual problems meant the Hollyoaks actors on the celebrity side were unable to attend and the race was on to find replacement players.
After a sleepless night and dozens of frantic calls, the community rallied and ex-England player Luther Blissett had a full contingent by kick-off on Sunday afternoon, including some fellow veteran players.
Around 800 people attended the match and there was a lively, upbeat atmosphere despite the altered line-up and intermittent rain.
Red Wellies was founded by the family of Lisa Wiles, who lived in Blackborough End and died of a brain tumour in 2011 at the age of 43.
The mother-of-three was determined to finish her psychology and sociology degree, and continued to attend classes at the College of West Anglia as her illness progressed.
Playing on the Red Wellies team alongside players from KL.FM and Linnets manager Gary Setchell was Lisa’s youngest son, Cameron.
Her father, Mervyn Wiles, said: “She was a real family girl and she would have been so proud to see us all raising money.
“I hope the good people of King’s Lynn and the surrounding area understand the problem was not our fault and still had a great day.
“It was panic stations, but we made the best of it and I think most people accepted there was nothing we could do about it.”
Special guests on the day included West Norfolk Mayor Barry Ayres and his wife Christine.
The final score was 2-1 to the celebrity team. Man of the match KL.FM’s Ryan Taylor.