Julio Arca back at South Shields FC for charity match in aid of cervical cancer

Salvation Army's Andy Smith, Kayleigh Gray and Julio Arca from South Shields FC and Darren Cliff from Amber's Law Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Julio Arca has overseen his first match since returning to South Shields FC.

The match was a charity fixture to raise awareness of cervical cancer, in memory of Amber Rose Cliff, from Sunderland, who died of the disease at the age of 22.

Arca was announced as first team manager in April, returning to the club where he ended his playing career for his first managerial role.

The Argentinian said, "It's great, first of all, to be back at the club, very thankful for the opportunity to be back at the club as the manager this time.  And obviously today doing a charity event that help hopefully a lot of people."

Since his return the former Sunderland and Middlesbrough player has been taking weekly coaching sessions with residents of Salvation Army Swan Lodge in Sunderland.

Julio Arca takes weekly training sessions with the residents of Salvation Army Swan Lodge. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Salvation Army support worker, Andy Smith said: "Some of the people that we look after suffer from complex mental health. They've been training really hard with Julio, physically.

"In terms of their mental and physical health it's been unbelievable for them, taking part in games like this really gives them a sense of purpose."

The match was held to raise awareness of cervical cancer and the importance of smear tests.

The Salvation Army team faced a squad of supporters of the charity Amber's Law.

Amber's Law was set up in memory of Amber Rose Cliff, from Sunderland, who died from the disease in 2017, at the age of 22.

Amber Rose Cliff was diagnosed with cervical cancer aged 22. Credit: Amber's Law

Amber's father, Darren Cliff said: "Events like this help Amber’s Law to spread awareness to people that haven’t heard of the charity before and hopefully they will tell others of the importance of booking smear tests and keeping their appointments.

"It’s such a short test that could potentially save your life."

According to figures, only one in three women take up their cervical screening offer and surveys show that the most common reason (42%) is embarrassment.

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