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Battle of the Badges: Police claim victory over fire in Archie football match

Team Archie are the real winners of the Battle of the Badges. Picture by the Archie Foundation
Team Archie are the real winners of the Battle of the Badges. Picture by the Archie Foundation

Police officers and firefighters went head-to-head for an annual charity football match at the weekend.

The stands at Balmoral Stadium were packed as supporters cheered on the teams taking part in The Archie Foundation’s Battle of the Badges on Saturday.

It was a three-nil win for Team Police – a third in a hat-trick of wins for the boys in blue.

More than £15,000 was raised.

But while the coppers may have lifted the trophy, the real stars of the day were the mascots who have come through so much to take part in the fundraiser.

Mascots are the stars of the show

All of the mascots at this year’s event have been supported by The Archie Foundation at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital or Dr Gray’s in Elgin.

Luca Youngson wanted to be part of the day to help raise money for the charity that has helped him so much.

The 15-year-old was a keen footballer himself until being diagnosed with an untreatable brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) after suffering an ischemic stroke.

This means the veins and arteries in his brain are tangled which disrupts the blood flow in his head.

Battle of the Badges: The two teams and their mascots line up ahead of the game. Pictures by The Archie Foundation.

Helped us more than they know

His mum said: “Luca had brain surgery last year in Great Ormond Street to try to prevent another stroke.

“Sadly, we had just lost my dad four days prior to surgery and The Archie Foundation helped us more than they’ll ever know.

“When Luca heard about the match and mascot opportunity, he was so excited. Before his diagnosis he loved football but his AVM now prevents him from being able to play.

Luca Youngson was delighted to be a mascot at The Battle of the Badges. Submitted by Archie Foundation

“A huge devastation to him. So, he felt this would be the perfect way to be part of the game and raise money for an amazing charity close to our hearts.”

Paula Cormack, chief executive of Archie, said: “It has been a fantastic turnout today with a full stadium and it is wonderful to see all of our mascots really enjoying the day.

“We are so grateful to everyone who supported the event and we’re really looking forward to 2023.”

Team Police lifted the Battle of the Badges Trophy. Picture by the Archie Foundation.

‘Better team on the day’

Team Fire captain, fire service watch commander Matthew Cowe, said: “To see everyone back again, in a full stadium is absolutely fantastic.

“Congratulations to Team Police, they were the better team on the day. We look forward to bringing it back next year.”

Team Police captain, Constable Ryan Rozanski said: “We are delighted to have won the match today and we’d also like to give a big thank you to all of our great mascots.”

The police celebrate their victory. Picture by The Archie Foundation.

Fire service area commander Chay Ewing, said: “There are no winners or losers here, at the end of the day it’s all for such an amazing cause – The Archie Foundation.

“Big well done to Team Police and we are glad the mascots have had a wonderful day.”

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