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A YOUTH football team hit by fraud earlier this year welcomed hundreds of guests for their annual family fun day on Saturday (July 1).

Laurel Park FC hosted a range of junior football tournaments and charity stalls to raise money after being duped into handing over £28,000 in April.

The club's former treasurer stood down after funds - intended to improve the facilities - were taken from a Barclays bank account by a group posing as senior club officials.

Mike Bradshaw, Laurel Park's interim chairman, was amazed to see such a good turnout for the family fun day and praised the spirit of the community since the scam.

He said: "This is the second year we have hosted the fun day. We tried to open up to the community more this year and after losing the money through the scam, hopefully a lot of people will support us and put money back into the club.

"We were knocked back. The money that went was supposed to be used on upgrades.

"We were absolutely gutted but we said the club would go on no matter what.

"Today has been such a wonderful success and we would say we are as strong as we have ever been."

Laurel Park has been running 21 years and offers junior football coaching to six to 18 year olds to more than 400 children.

Kingsley, Reading FC's mascot, made a guest appearance and a giant football dart board entertained the crowd in between a bumper schedule of mini tournaments.

Based at Marefield in Lower Earley, the club was forced to suspend all spending and has been inundated with messages of support and donations from local businesses.

Mr Bradshaw added: "A lot of people have donated prizes for the tombola, including Reading Football Club, who have given us free tickets.

"I joined about 10 years ago after my children started to play for the club. I got involved with the coaching and I was asked if I would like to be temporary chairman."