Sports fan Tony sets up charity tournament

Charity football tournament that was held in aid of The Rowans Hospice.   CAPTION: 'Castle A' - Tournament winners.
Charity football tournament that was held in aid of The Rowans Hospice. CAPTION: 'Castle A' - Tournament winners.
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When football club secretary Tony Wilkins thought about how he could raise money for The Rowans Hospice, he didn’t need to look far for an idea.

The 49-year-old, who works behind the scenes at Dunham Bush FC, saw a huge charity tournament featuring scores of local players as the best way to support the hospice.

So he called upon Division Three teams from Havant Sunday Football League to take part in the five-a-side competition in the grounds of Warblington School in Havant.

And the all-day event last Saturday saw the Castle A team emerge as winners.

The team was presented with the Heather Nicholson trophy, which was named after a 46-year-old lady who lost her fight with cancer at the hospice last November.

A raffle with prizes donated by local companies was also held on the day.

In all, more than £1,000 was raised – and extra money will be pulled in from sponsorship cash that is yet to be collected, plus a charity night at The Westleigh club on June 3.

Tony wanted to raise cash for the hospice because his partner, Allison Adams, is a support worker who looks after people after they receive care at The Rowans.

He says: ‘It was a brilliant day and it was all played in a good spirit.

‘The weather was perfect, it was so hot.

‘Luckily we were supplied with bottles of water, but they had run out by 2pm.

‘The response I got from local clubs was very good – so many came forward and wanted to take part.

‘I’m really chuffed with the amount of money that was raised and the good thing is that even more is coming in.’

Dunham Bush FC, which is sponsored by chiller equipment firm Dunham Bush Limited, is now looking to make the tournament an annual event.

Next year the club will again be looking to local companies for support.

Tony, of Market Parade, Havant, says: ‘I think it’s so important to raise money for the hospice because it does a great job and is not government-funded.’

He adds: ‘It astonished me, because it costs about £11,000 a day to keep the place running, which is an awful lot of money.

‘A lot of other charities get a decent amount of help.’

Tony wants to set up more events in aid of the hospice later in the year.

These include an 11-a-side football match between Dunham Bush FC and another team, plus a sponsored cycle ride by football players.