Mayor attends football match for White Ribbon Week

Ade Solarin, Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, Chief Superintendent Russel Nyman, Sergeant David Laurie Pic: Hugh McCafferty

Council staff traded warm desks for winter drizzle this Wednesday as they took on a football team assembled by the Young Mayor of Lewisham.

The match was part of a programme of events to raise awareness of White Ribbon Week, a campaign to end violence against women.

Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock and representatives from The Metropolitan Police watched the match from the sidelines.

Chief Superintendent Russell Nyman said: “[White Ribbon Week] puts a very strong message out there that domestic violence is not acceptable. Events like this can only publicise that and deter people from committing such offences.”

Before the six-a-side game, both teams played down their chances of winning. Young Mayor Jamal Higgins said: “To actually play a football match, which I haven’t done in a long time, is quite amazing.”

The council team, composed primarily of staff from the Neighbourhood Community Safety Service, suffered a comprehensive defeat at last year’s White Ribbon Week game against the Lewisham Young Fathers Project.

When asked if they had been training together in preparation for the match, the response was a resounding “no”.

Against the odds, the older team got off to a flying start, scoring two goals in the first five minutes. Young Mayors succeeded in pulling two back before half time, setting up a tense second half.

Early in the second half, the Young Mayor’s team went 3-2 up. Their lead was short-lived, though, as a late flurry of goals saw the council staff secure a 5-3 win and see their team name on the White Ribbon football shield.

The week will culminate in a parade along Lewisham High Street on Friday.

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