Where: South Bay Beach, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
£: Free to watch but donations towards the Fishermen & Firemen’s Charity Fund are welcome
What is it?
Said to be Scarborough’s oldest surviving custom, the Fishermen & Firemen’s Charity Football Match takes place on Boxing Day at South Bay Beach.
It has taken place annually since 1893 to raise funds for the Fishermen & Firemen’s Charity Fund. The fund provides help for the elderly and infirm during the winter months.
It was originally started to help the widows and orphans of five Scarborough fishermen drowned at sea aboard the Evelyn and Maud. In 1893 huge storms raged on the North East coast and sadly the Evelyn and Maud never returned to port. With so many of the community widowed and orphaned by this tragic event, the Mayor set up a fund to help them.
The match is still started by the Mayor and the winners receive a silver cup that has been used since 1901.
The game itself is a somewhat shambolic and light-hearted one, which is why it is known as the ‘Comic Football Match’. The players wear top hats and the only rule is that if your top hat falls off a free kick is awarded to the opposing team. The players tend to be a tad merry, as they make a tour of the houses and pubs in the old town for ‘refreshments’ before the game. As a result, the teams usually forget the score at the final whistle.
There will also be a mile of pennies (which you can add to) lined up along the seafront.
Why not head along to enjoy the chaos and help a good cause while you are at it?