A LIFELONG resident and avid runner is hosting a charity football match as he prepares to fulfil his dream of running the London Marathon.

Ray Sharman, 58, from Halstead, has dreamed of taking part in the annual race for years.

As an avid runner and part of the Halstead Road Runners, Ray has been in the ballot every year.

He said: “It really is a dream come true. I am currently in week seven of my 16 week training course with the Road Runners, which is going great.”

Following the confirmation of his run, he will now be raising money for the much-loved Halstead in Bloom group.

Ray added: “We will be having a charity football match between Kavern FC and a second team called Mix and Match, with players spread from all over coming together to play.

“There will be a cake sale and raffle on the day too to so we can raise as much money as possible for the In Bloomers.

“Best part too is that I am going to be refereeing the game, which will be great fun.

“As a resident of Halstead all my life, it will be great to raise money for the wonderful In Bloom group as well.

“We were always going to be raising money for them whoever’s name got pulled out.

“The support has been great, everyone is sharing the event on Facebook, we all have family and friends coming down, and hopefully the In Bloomers will be coming down too.

“Hopefully it will be a great event, and I just want to thank both the Road Runners for helping with my training and the Halstead Football Club who have been brilliant in helping out and lending us the pitch.”

The game is on August 7 at the Halstead FC Stadium, with a 12pm kick off.

Ray will be taking part in the London Marathon on October 2.