United legends set for charity event

The family, friends and members of Dromara Village Football Club at the launch day of the Manchester United Legends game.
The family, friends and members of Dromara Village Football Club at the launch day of the Manchester United Legends game.

A team of Manchester United legends is to take on a Dromara select side in a charity football match in memory of village man Walter McVeigh.

Organised by Walter’s family and friends to mark 20 years since his sudden death a day after his diagnosis with acute myeloid leukaemia, the Manchester United Legends game will kick off at 2.30pm on Saturday, August 3.

Margaret, Ryan, Megan and Blake McVeigh pictured together before an event at Dromara Village Football Club

Margaret, Ryan, Megan and Blake McVeigh pictured together before an event at Dromara Village Football Club

Raised in Waringsford, Walter was a gifted footballer and a devoted Manchester United Supporter. He started his football career with Dromore Amateurs before playing for Glenavon in the Irish league and later returning to his much-loved Dromara Village FC, as both player and assistant coach.

Walter was held in high esteem at DVFC, where his name features on the roll of honour.

Triplets Blake, Ryan and Megan were aged just four when their dad passed away, leaving his wife Margaret and family heartbroken at the loss of a much loved husband and father.

Since then the McVeigh family has raised funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI and the Anthony Nolan trust,with a range of events.

Walter McVeigh during his playing days.

Walter McVeigh during his playing days.

“My hope, on behalf of my family, “ said Margaret, “is for everyone to have a great day and to raise money for the two charities that are very close to our hearts, who save many lives.

“Our family and friends have been working tirelessly during the fundraisers on the lead-up to the main event.

“The communities of Dromara, Gilford, Limavady, Belfast and beyond have really got behind us during our big breakfast, ballots, craft mornings, sponsored walks and discos; we can’t thank them enough.”

Son, Ryan, added: “Just like our dad, Blake and I have been involved with Dromara Football Club most of our lives. It’s great the club are helping us to create a special day that will be remembered forever, with funds going to two worthy charities.”

Walter visited Old Trafford many times and dreamt of taking his children to see United play, but it wasn’t to be. When the family began thinking about what they could do to honour him, on his 20th anniversary year, it felt right, they said, to invite Manchester United Legends to play at Dromara a select team of Walter’s old frends, teammates and his children.

Walter’s son Blake added: “I know how much my dad would have loved to have been involved in a game like this, playing alongside his idols, as well as Ryan and I.”

The family’s thanks go to DVFC for the use of its ground on match day and for continued support over the years; also to local councils for help on launch day and for support provided. In the run-up to the big day, many United Legend Players have been released, including Brian McClair, Keith Gillespie and Bryan Robson. A full list of players and ticket details can be found at Facebook.com/honourofwaltermcveigh

Meanwhile, the family is appealing to Northern Ireland businesses for support.

If you want to support the event, whether through donations, sponsorship, promotion and advertising, or want your company advertised at any of the events email walter.fundraiser@gmail.com.