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Football match will support suicide prevention charity Mikeysline

By Chris Saunderson

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THE second playing of the Mikeysline Cup will put mental health firmly in the spotlight.

The Moray Mental Health FC squad after a recent friendly with a Keith select. Picture: Matty Slinger
The Moray Mental Health FC squad after a recent friendly with a Keith select. Picture: Matty Slinger

Moray Mental Health FC (MMHFC) will take on Dr Gray’s Hospital this Friday night (March 15) under the lights at Grant Park in Lossiemouth.

The first Mikeysline Cup last October saw MMH FC beat a Highland News and Media select at Mosset Park.

That event raised more than £2,700 for Moray and Highlands suicide prevention charity Mikeysline.

That was founded in 2015 following the deaths of two close friends, Martin Shaw and Michael Williamson, in Inverness within 48 hours of each other.

Ron Williamson, Mikey’s uncle, set up the charity after speaking to young people who felt they had nowehere to go when they were struggling.

The charity provides in person support and text support for people in emotional crisis.

The manager of the MMHFC team, Paul Lynch, said: “The fans will be in for a treat, with some very entertaining, skillful and passionate football. The team have been put through their paces over the last month or so and I’m sure there will be a barrel load of goals.”

Paul, who is chairman of Forres Area Soccer 7s, got involved after seeing the new club featured on STV and the Soccer 7s bought them bibs and balls to get them started.

He was delighted to get his boots back on after coaching for many years.

And he paid tribute to Matty Slinger, Phil Barton and Steven Simpson for creating the club.

He said: “I cannot thank Matty, Phil and Steven enough. I don’t think they will ever realise how much of a difference they have made to not only my wellbeing but to the 40/50 other members of the club and their families. They have made a huge impact across the whole of Moray and beyond.

“Nowadays everybody has busy lives, trying to juggle work, family and friends. To have the opportunity to go along to the kickabouts for an hour which is just for you, does the world of good. Not only for your physical health but also and more importantly your mental health.”

And Paul has advice for anyone thinking of taking that first step to join the group.

“MMHFC is open to everybody, regardless of ability. It is a very relaxed environment, with no pressure or stress involved. We are not here to find the next Messi, we just want to offer sessions to get people out of the house, meet new people and have a laugh.

“The team are very welcoming and friendly so if you are thinking about it, please come along to the next kickabout. You will not regret it.”

The club has become like a family, added Paul, and is sure it will continue to grow in years to come.

And he was proud to be asked to manage the team.

“I was honoured when asked to become ‘The Gaffer’. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of players to coach. They make my job easy when they go out on the pitch and put in 110 per cent effort. “

“The butterfly’s are certainly getting more and more the closer we get towards the big charity match. There is a great buzz within the team and every single one of the players are chomping at the bit to get out there and face up against Dr Gray’s.

Added Paul: “We are very lucky to be able to play the game we love and promote mental health. But the big winners will be Mikeysline. They do a fantastic job offering support, advice and helpline. We want to make sure we raise awareness of mental health and Mikeysline and if this can help just one person then it was worth it.”

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