BUSINESSMEN swapped suits for football boots to raise nearly £25,000 for Havens Hospices.

Employees at Barclays Corporate hosted the game at Southend United’s Roots Hall stadium for the second year.

Barclays joined forces with Rickard Keen, BTMK, Barrons, Paul Robinson Solicitors, Wilkins Kennedy, Nairnsey Fisher and Lewis, MWS accountants and Ayers and Cruiks to help the hospices in Thundersley and Westcliff. Southend United player Adam Barrett and former Blues’ boss Steve Tilson managed each team.

The hospices provide respite and care for babies, children, teenagers and adults with serious conditions.

Dave Oram, relationship director at Barclays Corporate in Chelmsford, said: “My colleague, Jeff Czuba, and I wanted to hold an event for local people, to raise money for a local charity and do something that could grow each year and everyone could have fun at.

“We knew about Havens Hospices because we have volunteer days there and we’ve seen the fabulous work they do at Little Havens and Fair Havens. We know they need millions of pounds each year to keep caring, so we wanted to create an event that would raise money the hospices can rely on every year. We’re thrilled to have raised even more this year – bring on next year.”

Dave and members of the teams presented a cheque for £24,260 to Lydia Plews, corporate fundraiser at the hospices.

She said: “We must raise more than £100,000 each week to be there for everyone who needs us, helping to control pain and medication, offering respite and caring for adults and children.

“We can only exist because of the kindness of supporters, like Barclays Corporate and other local businesses, so it’s great they want to continue supporting us year after year and raise such an incredible amount.”