Pompey star Kim helps to raise a hole lot of money for research

HELPING OUT From left, Kim Manns, Ernie Bradwell, Kevin Clements and Gary Saunders.
HELPING OUT From left, Kim Manns, Ernie Bradwell, Kevin Clements and Gary Saunders.

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GOLFERS teed off and raised more than £5,000 to support a former Pompey player struck down by a rare illness.

A total of 96 golfers took part in a charity tournament and auction at Waterlooville Golf Club.

The day was organised by Kim Manns, who has been a super-fit sportsman all his life, competing at a high level in football and cricket.

The 59-year-old midfielder played for Waterlooville FC for more than 20 years and had a spell at Fratton Park in 1972 under Ron Tindall.

He also played cricket for many years at Hambledon, where he was born, before taking up golf in his later years.

But his world was shaken up 12 months ago when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, a progressive illness that affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

It means messages gradually stop reaching muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting. For Kim, it affects his mouth and face, causing difficulties in talking and swallowing.

The condition can leave him exhausted some days.

Kim, who lives in Kimbolton Road, Copnor, said: ‘People said to me “have you been drinking?”.

‘They thought I had been on the booze because my voice was slurring.

‘Then I went to see my GP who offered me a consultant and all sorts.

‘They came back a year ago and said it was motor neurone disease.’

Kim has not let the illness affect his daily life and he still enjoys playing golf at the club in Cherry Tree Avenue, Cowplain.

Where he cannot always swallow, a drip tube has been fed into his stomach.

Earlier this year Kim, along with his old school friend Rob Dennett, decided to hold a fundraiser to raise awareness of the disease and help pay for more research.

Golfers paid a fee to take part in a charity tournament and Kim was supported by all his family on the day, including his 10-year-old nephew Charlie Leake, who was Kim’s caddy for the day.

In the evening more than 100 people turned out for the auction.

A signed Manchester United football raised £400.

Local businesses threw their support behind the day, with a car donated for the day by the Porsche garage at Lakeside North Harbour.

The total raised on the day was £5,700.

Kim said: ‘Half will go towards research and half will go to the local Portsmouth branch for Motor Neurone Disease to help buy equipment.’

The mens’ and ladies’ captains at Waterlooville Golf Club have also made The Motor Neurone Disease Association their annual charity.

Kim added: ‘I was overwhelmed with the support shown to me.’

Kim does not know if his condition will worsen, but told The News he makes the most out of every day.

‘I consider myself lucky,’ he said.

‘I have still got my arms, legs, and I can still go out and play golf and take out my grandson, George. The more research we can do, the better.’