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Tom and Tania Mackelden

Academy reunion for charity match

Former Maidstone United academy players, a number of whom made first team appearances, are returning to the Gallagher Stadium next Monday for a charity match.

The game has been organised by Tom Mackelden, who was at the academy between 2014 and 2016, to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

The home of the Stones has hosted numerous charity games during the past five years but this one is particularly personal, with Tom’s mum Tania suffering from an incurable form of the disease.

Tania, who was a regular at matches during his son’s time at the academy, was first treated for breast cancer in 2013 and has since discovered it has spread to her brain, bone marrow, liver, rib cage and spine. With months to live, her family and friends are doing all they can to make this precious time as comfortable and memorable as possible.

Stones boss Jay Saunders, who will be dusting off his playing boots for the match, said: “Tania was a regular at the Gallagher during Tom’s two years at the academy. She was there on Wednesdays to support him and his teammates during their championship winning season. She’s been so brave throughout and we were all devastated to find out that the cancer’s incurable.

“Next Monday will be an emotional occasion and we hope it will add to Tom’s fundraising tally so that Cancer Research can continue their work and reduce the number of families facing what the Mackledens are going through now.”

‘Mummy Mack’s Charity Footy Match’ kicks off at 19:30 next Monday (13 February). Admission is £5 per person and there’s also a raffle to help add to the fundraising.

Tom is also running the London Marathon this April on behalf of Cancer Research. His fundraising page for that is

PHOTO: Kent Messenger

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