AN exciting charity football match at Reading’s Select Car Leasing stadium raised £1,300 for two local charities. 

The game was played between two sides formed by staff at vehicle lease specialists Select, Reading F.C’s Principal Partner since 2021. 

Former Premier League player Alan O’Brien also graced the pitch - the former Newcastle United and Republic of Ireland left winger is now a Swindon-based car leasing specialist with Select. 

The match itself ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw - before it was ultimately won on penalties by a team captained by Select co-founder Mark Tongue. 

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Proceeds from the well-spectated event will be split between two Reading charitable organisations - the Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice and No.5, which is a community- based organisation offering counselling and support to young people and those around them.

Select director Mark Tongue said: “This was a fantastic chance for us to indulge in two of our passions - supporting local charities while also getting to pull-on that famous Reading F.C shirt. 

“Many of the members of staff here at Select have been personally touched by the incredible work carried out by both Sue Ryder and No.5, and we’re humbled and privileged to be able to make a contribution to their efforts.”

The Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice, located in Southcote, offers expert palliative care and support to people across Berkshire living with a life-limiting condition, as well as supporting their families.

Select’s relationship with national healthcare charity Sue Ryder - which provides palliative, neurological and bereavement support - is long-standing, going back to 2014. 

Jenn Patient, Senior Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder, said: “We’re very grateful to the team at Select Car Leasing for hosting this charity football match to raise funds for Sue Ryder. As a charity, we are reliant on the support of individuals, groups and businesses generously donating and fundraising for us, so we can be there when it matters. The money raised from the match will help us to continue providing the expert palliative care and bereavement support that we are so well known for in the local community.”

No5 Young People, founded in 1971, offers free, confidential mental health support, counselling and outreach for young people aged 11-25 who live, work or study in the RG postcode area.

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A spokesperson for No.5 said: “We were absolutely delighted to have been chosen as one of the local charities to be supported through the Charity Football Match. With over 900 young people currently waiting for help with their mental health, it is support like this from our local community and local businesses that means we can provide the help they need as quickly as possible. 

“This funding will directly pay for counselling and outreach for local young people in need, and we are so grateful to everyone for their support, donations and for taking part.”

A JustGiving charity page for the event is still live and donations are encouraged. 

A Select Car Leasing charity football match was also played last year, with proceeds going solely to Sue Ryder. 

The winning penalty in this year’s charity tie was scored by leasing consultant Aleksey Storchak.