By Richard Sykes

Two local rugby clubs are teaming up for a festive fixture to raise money for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation, supported by former Huddersfield Town striker Marcus Stewart.

Marcus announced in September he had been diagnosed with the condition and since then friends, family and supporters have raised almost £40,000 for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation.

Teams from Huddersfield RUFC and Huddersfield Laund Hill will contest an ‘over 35s’ game at Huddersfield’s Lockwood Park ground on Tuesday December 27, kicking off at 2.15pm.

Before the Covid crisis the veterans’ post-Christmas match was a regular feature which raised money for worthy causes.

It is fitting that its return in 2022 is in support of the MND charity. High profile projects led by Doddie Weir and Rob Burrows have touched the nation’s hearts and been embraced by the rugby community.

The former Scottish rugby union international and the Leeds Rhinos star both suffered from MND, with the former finally losing his battle with the condition last month.

Marcus Stewart’s sons Kian and Finlay both play rugby for Huddersfield RUFC and Marcus – head of player development at Yeovil Town – is supporting the festive fixture.

Marcus said: “Both rugby codes have really stepped up in their backing for Doddie and Rob and the amazing efforts of Kevin Sinfield to support his friend and teammate have gone above and beyond.

“So much has been done to raise awareness of MND and the money raised has helped fund vital research and alleviate suffering. Since my diagnosis the Darby Rimmer Foundation has been really supportive.”

Marcus Stewart’s two sons Kian and Finlay both play for Huddersfield RUFC.

Marcus Stewart wore the Town strip back in May when he played for a Legends side in the Match for Heroes 3 fundraiser at Golcar United’s Skye Direct Stadium. Here he’s chatting to former Town star Tom Cowan with former Town director Sean Jarvis (left). Pic by: SEAN DOYLE

The Darby Rimmer Foundation was founded by former professional footballer Stephen Darby and RAF veteran Chris Rimmer who both contracted the illness.

Darby played for Liverpool, Bradford City and Bolton but had to retire from the game aged 29 when the disease took its toll. Rimmer stepped down from active service in 2015 just four months after being diagnosed.

The rugby club will be open from 12 noon and match entry is free of charge. There will be a bucket collection during the game and a raffle afterwards to raise money for the charity.

READ MORE: Gallery of images from Huddersfield Town Legends v Golcar United at Match for Heroes 3

The rugby action will be the first involving Huddersfield since the beginning of the month, the last two league games having being lost to the frost.

Huddersfield’s director of rugby Gaz Lewis said: “It was disappointing to have the Sheffield and Otley games postponed as we’d begun to find a bit of form. However, it allows us to have a little break and have a full squad to pick from going into the New Year.

“The over 35s game promises to be a competitive affair and should be an enjoyable spectacle. Marcus is a Huddersfield legend and a hugely popular figure at HRUFC.

“I hope many people, not just rugby followers, will come down to the game to support Marcus and the Darby Rimmer cause.”

Donate to the Team Stewart fund HERE