AS eyes turn to Brazil and our boys overseas many Vale workers will be limbering up for their own hotly anticipated matches when Evesham hosts its very own mini World Cup. The annual Growers United FC tournament will see 32 teams - the same number as in the World Cup - from businesses around the Vale go head to head on the pitch. The star turn of the event on June 28 and 29 will be the game between Growers United and the West Bromwich and Midlands All Stars team. Then the tournament takes place over the weekend, the group stages on the Saturday and the quarters, semis and final on Sunday.
The aim of the event is to bring together a range of nationalities, cultures and businesses to build understanding and forge economically beneficial links. This was demonstrated at the weekend when the Growers United mascot Horti tied the knot with WAG Agri, who represents agriculture and links between the growers and Pershore College.
The event highlighted the ideals behind the event, first set up by Tomasz Piotrowski, the Worcestershire migration and integration in rural areas project co-ordinator. In 2012 Bal Padda, owner of Vicarage Nurseries Ltd in Bretforton, came on board and since then the event has grown a great deal.
This year's tournament will be the biggest yet with children's and ladies teams getting involved, a variety of activities over the weekend and a fine food market taking place with an international twist. Mr Piotrowski said: "The wedding was about involving agriculture because of the college and what they teach but also about putting a positive message out there about the local market growers and the industry itself so young people can see it as a choice for their future. "It now leads to the weekend in June. It is a good way of businesses getting together and doing business. "The economic benefit is the leading thought but from the community cohesion point of view it's also very important. "It is also about appreciating what these people do for our economy. This is what makes the Vale of Evesham what it is."
The event will also raise money for Birmingham Children?s Hospital and Cancer Research UK. Mr Padda said he sees it as a way to build essential links between growers. "If we work together it's better," he said. "It also encourages youngsters to see what we do and perhaps they think this is something I could do.
"The most beautiful part is the fun part. There is so many different people and nationalities there and people from the council leader to me. "The Vale of Evesham is a brilliant place to live and work. It is important to keep the event here and support the local area like it has supported us."