A host of celebrities took part in a charity football match to raise awareness for an Ilkeston-based autism charity.

The game was held at Meadow Lane and organised by John Daly, co-founder of Awareness for Autism, and Kieran Hardcastle, an actor from This is England, who originally lived in Arnold.

John, 38, lives in Ilkeston and is the father of two autistic sons. He set-up the charity in 2013 with his wife Lauri after their eldest had been diagnosed.

They had been finding their situation very difficult and decided to organise a number of events to help other families affected with autism in their local community.

Awareness for Autism (AfA) put on their first football match three years ago and this time around, in its third year, the event has grown much bigger.

Mr Daly said: “I’ve always been a firm believer that football is the best platform to raise awareness.

“This year again has gone through the roof. Getting our message out there through football is brilliant.”

The teams were captained by This is England actors Andy Ellis and Hardcastle, and were comprised of further celebrities, former Notts County and Nottingham Forest players and fans.

Team Gadget, named after Ellis’ character in the programme, included Emmerdale’s Jamie Shelton and ex-Coronation Street actor Sean Ward, while Team Kezz featured James Hooton from Emmerdale, Charles Hanson, an auctioneer from Bargain Hunt, and Richard Mylan from Waterloo Road.

Saturday’s match finished 4-4 with Team Gadget winning 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out.

Current Magpies players Alan Smith and Mike Edwards played for Team Gadget and Smith said it was a pleasure to be involved and that he didn’t need asking twice to play.

AfA is in the process of being registered as a charity and the proceeds will go towards the Shaun Barker Foundation and Autism East Midlands.

Hardcastle said every person who played was fantastic because they had given their time for free to do something they’re really passionate about.

He added: “It’s really good to see the effects locally the money is having – particularly at Bennerley Fields School, in Ilkeston, which specialises in people suffering with autism and disabilities. It’s kind of our responsibility to do that, which is a great thing.”

James Hooton, who plays Sam Dingle in Emmerdale, said: “It’s nice to be able to get involved with a local charity in Nottingham and on a nice local pitch like Notts County’s ground, which is fantastic.”