Lancashire businesses urged to ‘team up’ for charity football tournament

Registration for the Orphanage Cup, East Lancashire’s most prestigious and long-running football tournament, closes this Friday (28th February).

The football tournament – which began as the Royal Infirmary Cup in the 1930s – has been played by teams from businesses and organisations in Blackburn for more than 80 years and raises funds for Child Action Northwest (CANW), which was previously Blackburn Orphanage.   

Having previously only included workplace teams from within the East Lancashire area, the Orphanage Cup has now expanded to also include businesses from districts across North, Central and South Lancashire.

Sue Cotton, CEO of CANW, explained the reasoning behind opening up the competition to the wider county after years of being solely Blackburn-based.

She said: “The cup first started when there was no health service, but once the funding became available to create the NHS, the fundraising continued and was given to us as Blackburn Orphanage. 

“We’ve talked about whether we should change the name but we’re proud of our heritage. It gives businesses from across the county the chance to boost morale in the workplace, get more people fit and healthy and encourage teamwork for a good cause.” 

The competition has gone on to raise thousands of pounds for CANW to support the most vulnerable children and young people in Lancashire.

The current Orphanage Cup holders are Accrington-based The Senator Group, the UK’s largest manufacturer of office furniture, who’ve won the tournament for the past two years.

Paul Egan from The Senator Group said: “The Orphanage Cup is brilliant for increasing staff morale and serves as an excellent teambuilding exercise. To be able to support CANW’s amazing work at the same time makes it even more worthwhile.

“We’ve entered a team since the 80s and to win it three times in the last four years has been a fantastic experience. I’d encourage any business or organisation considering taking part to go for it.”

Deborah Blades, CANW grants and partnership lead, said: “The Orphanage Cup offers businesses a fantastic teambuilding opportunity, and it’s a brilliant way to engage with colleagues outside of work in a fun and competitive environment.

“Businesses are also increasingly searching for a way in which they can directly support good causes within the communities most local to them – the Orphanage Cup gives local businesses the chance to score in both of these areas.”

To find out more about taking part in the Orphanage Cup, contact Debs at CANW on 01254 244700 (option 6) or email

Registration is now open and closes on Friday 28th February. To register a team for the event, please click here. Registration costs £100 per team , with proceeds going straight to CANW.