White Hart Associates win MSC Cup 2024

White Hart Associates lifted the MSC Cup 2024 as the travel industry raised almost £33,000 in the second edition of the charity football tournament.

Ten teams competed in the seven-a-side event at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium on Wednesday (May 22) in aid of Reuben’s Retreat.

Defending champions The Travel Network Group, who triumphed in 2019, reached the final again but went down 4-0 on a rainy afternoon in west London.

Antonio Paradiso, vice-president of international sales for MSC Group’s cruise division, said “everyone had the time of their lives” and thanked the industry for rallying around the fundraising effort.

He added: “MSC Cruises has been supporting Reuben’s Retreat for a number of years now and this is a great opportunity to talk more about the amazing job they’re doing. They give the opportunity to give smiles to so many families who are going through a hard time.”

Reuben’s Retreat founder Nicola Graham said the charity was “really thrilled” with the amount raised, which exceeded the £25,000 generated five years ago.

More than 700 people are currently being helped by the Derbyshire-based charity, she said, but the extra funds would allow support to be offered to even greater numbers.

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola was among the crowd watching the tournament.

“It’s always a pleasure to touch this grass,” he said, adding: “It’s great to be here and watch people having fun. And when you use sport to help charity, it’s a great thing.”

Reuben’s Retreat provides a countryside setting that aims to relieve the distress of families who have a child suffering from a life-limiting or life-threatening illness or who have suffered a child bereavement. Services include counselling, support groups, activity and therapy days, short breaks for children and bereavement breaks.

The MSC Cup was organised in collaboration with Travel Weekly.

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