Nikki Cross: 2,500 people watch the beautiful game in memory of Hemel Hempstead mother

The teams are led out by the captains
The teams are led out by the captains

More than 2,500 people enjoyed a game of football in the sunshine in memory of a mother killed in her own home.

Nikki Cross was stabbed in her Grovehill home in September 2015 and tragically passed away, leaving behind husband Daniel to raise their two children.

Football stars including Neil Harris and Clarke Carlisle turned out for the All Stars

Football stars including Neil Harris and Clarke Carlisle turned out for the All Stars

But family and friends have united around Daniel since then to raise money through the Nikki’s Wishes fundraising group, and each year are honouring her legacy in a charity football match.

And big names from the game, including Millwall manager Neil Harris and former Premier League defender Clarke Carlisle, took time out to take part in the latest match, which was held on Saturday at Vauxhall Road.

And the crowd which packed into Hemel Hempstead Town’s ground were treated to a thriller in the Memorial Cup match, with the All Stars beating Grovehill 6-2.

Mat Griffin, one of the organisers of the event, said: “We cannot thank the All Stars team of footballers enough for giving up their Saturday to come and support Dan and his family.

Daniel Cross, Nikki's husband, led the Grovehill team

Daniel Cross, Nikki's husband, led the Grovehill team

“If we take Clarke Carlisle for example, Clarke travelled all the way down from Preston on Saturday morning and then back again after the match, that gives you an idea how committed these guys were in helping us put on a great day.

“All of them were true professionals and more than happy to chat with the public and sign anything put in front of them.

“Neil Harris signed and donated his football boots from the match. I could go on and on, they were all fantastic and a pleasure to meet and play against.”

The funds raised from the day, which included a whole host of family fun to accompany the match, is still being totted up.

Nikki was killed at her home in Grovehill

Nikki was killed at her home in Grovehill

Money raised this year will be split between Child Bereavement UK and Nikki’s Wishes, with the latter once again making donations and pledges to local causes.

Mr Griffin added: “On behalf of the Cross family and the organising committee I would like to thank everyone who supported the event, especially the volunteers and of course Dave Boggins from Hemel Hempstead Town for hosting another great day.”

The match was played in a great spirit between the two sides

The match was played in a great spirit between the two sides

A young member of the crowd gets a high five from Iron Man

A young member of the crowd gets a high five from Iron Man

Balloons were released on the charity fun day on Saturday

Balloons were released on the charity fun day on Saturday