A MEMORIAL football tournament remembering popular Brierley Hill footballer Olly Wilkes is to take place at England's official training base this time round.

Organiser Simon Wilkes, who organises the event in memory of his son Olly, was over the moon to secure St George's Park in Burton for this year’s tournament which will take place on Saturday November 25.

The Olly Wilkes Memorial Football Tournament, which has taken 12 months to plan, will see 24 teams of 10 playing across four pitches in the Sir Alf Ramsay Indoor Arena.

Stourbridge News: Olly WilkesOlly Wilkes (Image: Handout)

Kick off will be at 10am and the all-day event will be followed by an after party at Stourbridge FC, starting at 7pm, which will include a grand raffle draw, auction, disco, karaoke and refreshments.

Big-hearted businesses and individuals have donated a raft of prizes for the event which will raise funds for the Anthony Nolan charity as well as awareness of the organisation’s work to sign up potential stem cell donors to help save the lives of people with blood disorders.

Simon, aged 59,who runs PureSport UK sports coaching company, knows only too well how important this is - having battled rare blood cancer Myelodysplastic Syndrome himself since 2013.

A number of his previous fundraising events have included stem cell drives and three young men who have signed up at those events have been selected as a match for someone in need of a stem cell transplant.

Representatives from Anthony Nolan will also be swabbing footballers and visitors at this year’s event and all proceeds from the tournament and subsequent raffle and auction will go to the charity.

People can find out more about becoming a donor on the Anthony Nolan charity website.

Simon said has been overwhelmed at the success of the annual tournament to date, which he’s tried to hold every year, apart from during the pandemic, since his son Olly, a carpenter and keen footballer, took his own life in 2017 at the age of 22.

Stourbridge News: The last family photo: Olly Wilkes with mum Lynn, dad Simon and brother Ben.The last family photo: Olly Wilkes with mum Lynn, dad Simon and brother Ben. (Image: Simon Wilkes)

Simon and wife Lynn and their son Ben, aged 31, have thrown themselves into organising events to keep Olly’s memory alive and Simon has been astonished at their success in not just raising funds but bringing the community together and raising the profile of worthy charities.

With this event, he hopes to showcase just how easy it is for people to sign up to the stem cell register to help save lives.

He said: “There’s only two per cent of the population on the register; there aren’t enough donors. “We need more of them.”

As well as encouraging people to sign up to the donor register, he hopes to raise a few thousand pounds from the event. He said: “If we can raise the usual £10,000 it’ll be happy days.”

After the event, people will be invited to the after party at Stourbridge Football Club, sponsored by Steven Eagell Toyota Stourbridge, where there’ll be a chance for football fans to get their hands on sporting memorabilia including a signed Jude Bellingham England shirt and a shirt signed by the 2023-24 Manchester United squad.