A CHARITY rugby match is to be held in memory of a coach and player who died from blood cancer last year.

The Martin Peel memorial match will take place on Saturday, August 3. between 1pm and 5pm at Baildon Rugby Club, where Martin, 61, was both a player and a coach.

His sons Chris and Tom, who have organised the match, hope the day will raise awareness and funds for blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan and encourage more young people to join the stem cell register.

Both men will be leading out teams on the day, with Tom returning from his home in China to lead out his former Colts XV team, while Chris has recruited current and past players for his Veterans XV team.

Mixed ability rugby team Bumbles and O2 Touch will also be there on the day and attendees will be able to enjoy live music and food and drink.

Chris said: ‘Rugby was such a huge part of my dad’s life and watching Tom and I play was his greatest pleasure.

"He was so respected at the rugby club, so an event there was inevitable.

"At his funeral he wanted me to hold a rugby ball and Tom to hold a linesman flag, he also asked for his ashes to be scattered at the rugby club too."

He added: "People have been so generous already, so far we have raised £7,132.00 for Anthony Nolan, which is enough to fund 178 potential stem cell donors on the register, but we won’t stop there.

"Anthony Nolan desperately need people between the ages of 16-30 to join the stem cell register and representatives from Anthony Nolan will be there on the day to sign up potential donors who would like to join."

After being diagnosed with blood cancer, Martin was told that without a stem cell transplant his life expectancy would be significantly reduced and he would only be expected to survive for a few more years.

With this knowledge, Martin decided to go ahead with a transplant and Anthony Nolan started searching their register for an unrelated, matching donor. A donor was found but sadly Martin died from complications several months after his transplant.

Chris said: ‘My dad really struggled to find a matching donor so if we can make the next person not struggle as much, even if it’s just one person, that would be amazing.’

Anthony Nolan is the charity that finds matching donors for people with blood cancer.

Stem cell transplants are often a patient’s last chance of survival, so it is vital that the charity is able to find matches for every patient who needs a transplant.

They also carry out ground-breaking research to save more lives and provide information and support to patients after a stem cell transplant, through its clinical nurse specialists and psychologists, who help guide patients through their recovery.

People joining the register must be between 16 and 30 years old, as statistics show that young people are more likely to be chosen as donors in lifesaving transplants.

However, people are asked to stay on the register until they’re 60.

Those joining must also be in good health, weigh over 7st 12lbs and have a BMI lower than 40.

The charity says it particularly needs more young men to sign up, as they produce more stem cells than women and are six times more likely to donate, but make up just 15 per cent of the charity's register.

It also need more donors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, as the charity often struggles to find matches for people in these groups.

For more information about the event visit www.facebook.com/events/2817948868279744, where you will also find a link to a JustGiving page.