Memorial Cup’s return celebrates the life of fun-loving marine Jon

Alan Hankey (Jon's brother) with event organiser Lea Jackson.''Picture: Keith Woodland
Alan Hankey (Jon's brother) with event organiser Lea Jackson.''Picture: Keith Woodland

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FAMILY and friends of the late Jon Hankey united for the fifth annual football tournament held in his name.

Hundreds descended on the stomping ground of Horndean Football Club as the Jon Hankey Memorial Cup returned at the weekend.

Jon Hankey

Jon Hankey

At the centre of the fixture – which offered fun and activities for revellers of all ages, on Sunday – was a four-team tournament featuring a trio of clubs Jon played for before his death, in 2014.

Aged 41 at the time, Jon, a Royal Marine, lost his life after a heart attack while he was in South Africa.

And as residents from the East Hampshire community he loved so dearly joined together once again to celebrate his life, organisers say the day ‘summed up everything he stood for’.

Lea Jackson was one of Jon’s best pals and helps put together the event every year.

Mr Jackson said: ‘The Jon Hankey Memorial Cup is getting bigger and bigger every year and it’s amazing to see people from all corners of the community pull together to make it so special.

‘If Jon were here to see what the event has become he would love it – it’s a mixture of everything he stood for.

‘He loved football, he loved a beer in the sun and he loved getting everyone in one place.

‘I’d estimate about 400 people attended this one – we were all blown away.’

Staged at Five Heads Park, the cup saw a trio of pub teams – from the Heroes, the Pop Inn and the Crows Nest – face off against one another and a squad of Pompey legends in a bid to win silverware and bragging rights.

After a hotly-contested tree of fixtures, it was the Heroes – representing the drinking hole of the same name in Waterlooville – who claimed a 3-1 final victory against the Pompey Legends.

The comfortable win dismissed any chance of a hat-trick for ex-professionals Shaun Gale and Guy Butters, who were previously crowned champions in 2015 and 2016.

Money raised from the event – which to date has collected more than £20,000 – will now go to charities Help Our Wounded and Hannah’s Holiday Home Appeal, which provides holiday accommodation for families with seriously-ill children.

Reflecting on Jon’s life as the hallmark celebration in his name wrapped up for another year, Mr Jackson said: ‘Jon was one of my best friends – he was a lot of fun.

‘It’s always special to remember him like this.’

To enjoy a spread of News photographs taken at this year’s Jon Hankey Memorial Cup, turn to page 38.