A football team and support group for bereaved fathers has won an award for their community work.
Angels United is a Manchester-based football club made up entirely of bereaved dads.
Describing themselves as a club that no one wants to have to join, Angels United provides a lifeline to fathers who have lost their children, offering the chance to connect with others who understand them both on and off the pitch.
The football club has now been named Community Project Of The Year at the MCRactive Awards.
First formed in 2020 by 13 grieving fathers, Angels United now has more than 50 members.
The club plays in a league made up of other teams that act as support groups.
In every match, Angels United players wear the names of their lost loved ones on the back of their shirts.
Co-founder Oliver Munk said: "We save lives and we make a huge difference to the people who have got involved.
"This isn’t a project anyone chooses to get involved in. No one chooses to lose a baby or child, but when they do, we hopefully see that they get a massivee change to their mental health and their lifestyle."
Oliver and his wife suffered two miscarriages and in 2019 they lost their baby twins Dottie and Poppy.
For Oliver, football was his place to escape and work through his feelings.
He said: "We did counselling, we did group sessions, we did coffee mornings, but it wasn't the right fit for me.
"Football saved me. The day after my girls' funeral I went to the football and Gillingham won one-nil.
"And then I had messages from random strangers just reaching out and talking about my girls.
"So, yeah, football is such a powerful tool and saves people. There's people in this group that Angels United has saved."
The club is currently planning to offer more sports and activities for the whole family, and will be hosting a national charity football tournament in 2024.
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