Footballers United in Tackling Cancer

19 May 2023

Footballers from organisations across the UK aerospace sector came together on 16 May for a unique football tournament in May. The day was a great success, with 300 spectators filling the terraces and over £6,500 raised for Cancer Research UK.

Organised by members of Leonardo’s Luton and Lincoln Charity Committee, the 9-a-side football tournament took place at the LNER Stadium, home of Lincoln City Football Club. As well as teams representing UK aerospace companies such as Leonardo, Airbus, MBDA, Castlet, Frazer Nash and GKN Aerospace, the tournament also included teams from the Royal Air Force bases RAF Waddington and RAF Coningsby, for whom those playing provide critical military support, 365 days a year.

The ‘Leonardo Football Vase’ tournament was the idea of the Charity Committee members Jordan Ball and Joseph Manley, both of whom wanted to use their passion for football to raise funds for Cancer Research UK – the chosen charity for Leonardo’s Lincoln and Luton sites.

“The idea was quite simple really and born out of the close working relationships that we have with our customers and partners,” recalls Charity Committee Chair, Jordan. “Given our close working relationship with the RAF on programmes such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, TyTAN contract and our work with the Air Warfare Centre, some of those competing have been playing matches against each other for a number of years.

“Leonardo teams have previously played in tournaments at RAF Coningsby, taking on teams from RAF bases from around the UK. We’ve also sponsored the RAF Coningsby football in inter-RAF football tournaments.”

The tournament was advertised as 'Aerospace’s toughest football challenge', hosted at Lincoln City FC's LNER stadium.

“It was really exciting for football fans such as myself to be playing at the stadium just a few days after the club’s final League 1 game of the season, against Shrewsbury,” says Joseph. “A truly special occasion for all those coming to support us, given that so many live in the local area, either on the RAF bases or at local offices such as our Lincoln Training Academy.”

Head of the Leonardo Training Academy in Lincoln, Jamie Garbutt, congratulated the team on their work in putting the tournament together. “It’s great to see the inaugural ‘Leonardo Football Vase’ tournament take place in Lincoln, given the presence of our Academy and our association with the bases in the region. I’m particularly excited that teams from RAF Waddington and RAF Coningsby chose to enter teams, since this reflects the close working relationship that we and others in the aerospace sector have delivering a whole force capability alongside the RAF. Well done to all those who competed - it was a fantastic day of sport and a rewarding day for Cancer Research UK.”

Jordan added: “I really want to thank all those who have helped make this tournament happen and all those who have sponsored the teams or donated so far. I hope our efforts on the pitch go some way to supporting the amazing work of Cancer Research UK. If you would like to show your support, please visit our JustGiving page.”

Our thanks to everyone who has donated, and congratulations to Coningsby A, who have become the first team etched onto the Leonardo Football Vase Trophy!