Coldstream Guards annual memorial event

Guardsman Michael Sweeney, 19, of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was killed in a bomb blast while on foot patrol in Babaji, Afghanistan on April 1 2010
Guardsman Michael Sweeney, 19, of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was killed in a bomb blast while on foot patrol in Babaji, Afghanistan on April 1 2010

A football match in memory of two Coldstream Guards who were killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010 has become an annual event.

Since losing their son, Guardsman Michael Sweeney, in 2010 on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, his parents Michael and Kim have devoted much of their time to raising money for the Army Benevolent Fund and this year’s football match between Coldstream Guards and Blyth Misfits takes place this Saturday, May 4, at Blyth Spartans home ground of Croft Park, the teams playing for the Guardsman Michael Memorial Cup.

Football legend Malcolm MacDonald will be there, and the all day event (10am-5pm) includes children mini matches and a game between Royal Sun Alliance teams from Sunderland and Liverpool football teams in memory of Sgt John Amer who was also killed in Afghanistan while serving with the Coldstream Guards on the same tour.

Michael’s mother Kim explained: “Michael and John loved football which is why the game was set up and means so much to us.

“The lads who served with them come up and play their local friends in a fabulous match. They would be so proud the event has taken off and more people attend each year.

“I have been fundraising for the ABF- The Soldiers Charity for three years now and have raised in excess of £35,000. All due to the kindness of local and supportive people of the ABF, Coldstream Guards and last but certainly not least in the memory of two of our finest soldiers.”

Kim and Michael Sweeney are regular visitors to Coldstream and appreciate the support the town gives the Guards. “They know that people here are thinking about them and that they aren’t just a number or a uniform,” said Kim.