Football stars and Harefield unite for Jess, 8, in her fight against cancer

8 year-old Jess 8 year-old Jess

Hundreds of people turned out yesterday in aid of a young Harefield girl who is battling cancer for the fourth time.

A host of ex-professional footballers got their boots on again to aid the cause, with about 1,000 tickets sold for the Harefieldians versus Rowlands Legends at Harefield United's Preston Park ground.

Ex-players, including former Watford and Wimbledon star Marcus Gayle, and former Queens Park Rangers player Martin Rowlands, took part in a charity game to help raise cash to fund essential medical treatment in America that Jess can not get in England. Fundraising for this campaign began in February, after a third relapse.

Eight year-old Jess Shepherd, who goes to Harefield Primary School and lives in Ruislip, has been fighting a rare childhood cancer on and off since she was three. Although it went into remission spontaneously, Jess suffered the first relapse on 28 December 2013.

She named her tumour Boris and thereafter the Help Jess Beat Boris campaign sprung into action. She recently met Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP Boris Johnson, pictured below.



Friends and supporters have been organising many events to help raise money to fund treatments being trialled in America which are not available in the UK.

Click here for more on Jess's story and what her family recently told Hillingdon is Here.

Read on for more on yesterday's game.

Organisers/the family thanked Dean Hooper and Gary South for coming up with the idea for the match in the beginning and seeing it through and Nicola Conroy, Karen Smith, Mandy Cullen, Paula Williams, who were the main helpers on the day.

They also thanked:

Josie West, Nadine Knight, Chelsey Annison, Gemma Green, Jamie Peverall, Dean Wood, Tommy Petch, Kevin Moles, Kirsty Nevin, Nicola Wood, Beverley Hedges, Michelle Petch, Joanne Mchenry, Bernice Lake, Heidi Jordan, Claire Pullen, Jess's grandad Noel, Sharon Hooper, Louise Matthews and Alex Deas.

Nicola Conroy said: “Thank you each and every one of you, you were amazing throughout everything and deserve to look back and be proud of being part of a wonderful team that created a wonderful day for a great cause.”


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Match report by Bradley Hayden - Rowlands all-stars come out on top

The legends started the brighter and former Chelsea and Crystal Palace striker Neil Shipperley squandered a presentable opportunity that came their way.

The pros came close again a few minutes later when Harefield overplayed defensively and Scott McGleish sent a powerful half volley over the bar.

However, it was Harefield who took the lead 2 minutes later, when a strike was parried by the goalkeeper and Dave Carty easily tapped the follow home. The Harefieldiens couldn't keep hold of the lead for long as straight from kick off, the pros equalised.

McGleish got away from his marker and squared for Rob Wolleston to tap home. It was 2-1 to the pros minutes later, as Rowlands through ball found McGliesh, and the Wealdstone striker rounded the goalkeeper and slotted the ball home.

Ex-Watford forward Jason Lee nearly added to the pros advantage, when he sliced over following Shipperleys' knock down, before McGliesh smashed the crossbar. It was 3-1 shortly before half time after the pros were awarded a penalty, after the referee spotted a handball in the area.

Scott Williams stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the top corner. McGleish added a fourth later on in the first half for the pros, before Wollston made it five, with a powerful drive from 20 yards, capping off an entertaining first half at Preston Park.

The pros made it six shortly after half-time and a seventh swiftly followed.

However, Harefield continued to plug away and they pulled one back, thanks to Dean Spooner after an assist from Wilks.

The pros increased their advantage later on though, as McDonough sent a low shot into the bottom corner to make it 8-2 to Rowlands all stars. The game ended 9-2.

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