Game on for brave Liam

Beighton Magpies FC have held a World Record attempt to play 5-a-side for 28 hours at Killamarsh Leisure Centre.Pictured are the U7's taking part in the event
Beighton Magpies FC have held a World Record attempt to play 5-a-side for 28 hours at Killamarsh Leisure Centre.Pictured are the U7's taking part in the event
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FIFTY-six teams, 28 hours of five-a-side and the memory of a local soldier lost last year to the war in Afghanistan.

While most people around Killamarsh Sports Centre were sleeping last night, tired limbs were being roused for a game of football as Beighton Magpies sought to honour former player Corp Liam Riley with a football marathon.

Beighton Magpies FC have held a World Record attempt to play 5-a-side for 28 hours at Killamarsh Leisure Centre.Pictured are the Mums teams taking part in the event

Beighton Magpies FC have held a World Record attempt to play 5-a-side for 28 hours at Killamarsh Leisure Centre.Pictured are the Mums teams taking part in the event

And it was apt that another soldier, Sgt Chris Nicholson from Gleadless, should score the first goal in the opening 30-minute game of the day, which brought teams of both sexes and all ages from the community and surrounding areas, including security guards from Crystal Peaks shopping centre and a ladies dance group.

Putting her boots on for games at 11pm and at 3am was soccer starlet Helen Smith, who previously represented England under-16s.

“We’ve got a bedroom downstairs with some blow-up beds so I’ll have my alarm clock set for 2.45pm,” said the Beighton 17-year-old, also refereeing some of the other games. “It’s a brilliant event raising awareness of our heroes all over the world.”

North-east Derbyshire MP Natascha Engel had her first experience of refereeing a game when she took charge of the first match. “I’ve watched loads and it always looks really easy. It turns out it’s really hard. I will never shout those things I used to shout at referees again,” she said. “Liam was such a positive figure in the community and this is a massive celebration.”

NEWS COLLECT picture of Corporal Liam Riley on a training exercise in Canada with Prince Harry.  Corporal Riley, 21, died in an explosion near Malgir, Helmand in Afghanistan, on Monday morning

NEWS COLLECT picture of Corporal Liam Riley on a training exercise in Canada with Prince Harry. Corporal Riley, 21, died in an explosion near Malgir, Helmand in Afghanistan, on Monday morning

Fully supported by Liam’s family, the initial concept was to break a world record of 27 hours. However, because they were using more than two teams it couldn’t count.

Magpies secretary Alan Stork said the fund-raising idea came about soon after Liam died. “We felt we had to do something as he was a good outfield player so this is our bit for Help For Heroes.”

Fund-raising committee member Julie Roberts said they were hoping to raise £8,000 with the event and an auction. “We’ve had a massive response and it’s nice to pull the community together,” she said. “It would be a sorry state if we couldn’t get people involved in this. Then a lot of the teenagers grew up with Liam when he played with the Magpies.”