EastEnders put charity in spotlight

EastEnders actor and life-long West Ham United fan Perry Fenwick is leading an all-star cast in a charity football day at the Boleyn Ground this weekend.

Perry, the soap's Billy Mitchell, and several of his EastEnders co-stars will be taking part in the Danny Mardell Knockout Challenge to raise money for the Downs Syndrome Association on Saturday 24 May. Among those set to line up alongside Perry to make up the team known as The Walford Boys Club will be Scott Maslen (Jack Branning), Charlie Clements (Bradley Branning), Joe Swash (Mickey Miller), Charlie G Hawkins (Darren Miller) and Thomas Law (Peter Beale).


In all, 32 teams will take to the pitch to contest each other in different groups and Perry's side will be up against the likes of Rocket and Tubes from Soccer AM. The turnstiles will open at 10am and, following a welcome from Perry, his team will kick off the day's proceedings at 10.40am. As well as watching the football, there will be many other activities going on, including face painting, food and drink, plus the chance to grab autographs from the stars who will be around all day.

Perry said: "It should be a really good day. Not only is it a chance to see some of us try to play football as best we can, but we are all around to sign autographs throughout the day and we are looking forward to meeting everyone. It is also for a great cause and we can have fun while raising money at the same time.

"As well as the some of the cast playing with me in the team, we also have Cliff Parisi (Minty) and David Sphinx (Keith Miller) and Jake Wood (Max Branning) who will be among our 'magic sponge' men for the day and some of the girls, including Emma Barton (Honey Mitchell), Linda Henry (Shirley) and Cheryl Fergison (Heather), will be coming along to be our cheerleaders."

For Perry, the Downs Syndrome Association of which the day is raising money for is a cause close to his heart. In EastEnders, His character Billy is dad to a baby daughter Janet who has Downs Syndrome. Off screen, Perry is a patron for the association. He added: "It is a great association that works hard for those who have Downs and for their family and friends. Ever since the storyline about Billy's daughter Janet started, I have learnt a lot about Downs and have seen at close hand how the association works. I am delighted to be a patron for them.

"In the show, Janet is played by a little girl called Grace, who is fantastic and we have all grown really close to her. She will also be there on the day, as her dad, Simon Street, is our goalkeeper for the day." Perry is also pleased the event is taking place at the Boleyn Ground, home to his favourite team. "It's always an honour to play on the pitch here, as it is for any West Ham fan.

"We have a few Arsenal supporters in the EastEnders cast who are playing on Saturday and what they don't know is they will be playing in claret and blue shirts! It really is a brilliant cause, the association relies almost entirely on voluntary donations and everyone who comes to see us at Upton Park will have a fun day and can help us raise some money for this great charity."

Entrance on the day is £5 with under-5's getting in free.