A CHARITY football tournament held in the name of a former Royal Marine has celebrated its biggest year yet.
Kicking-off for the fourth time, the Jon Hankey Memorial Cup returned to Horndean Football Club on Saturday – uniting more than 70 players and droves of spectators.
Crowds flocked to the tournament at Five Heads Road to celebrate the life of their late friend from Waterlooville, who suffered a massive heart attack while working in Africa in 2014, at the age of 41.
One of Jon’s best friends and one of two co-organisers of the tournament, Lea Jackson, said: ‘It was absolutely unbelievable. There was traffic going all the way back to Horndean.
‘Everyone kept saying how brilliant it was to get back together again.’
Four teams took part in the competition – made up of friends, former opponents from Jon’s Sunday league playing days and former Pompey stars.
Jon’s brother, Alan, was part of the winning squad, named Pop Inn.
‘It was a very emotional moment. Jon would’ve loved it,’ said Lea.
Alongside a host of charitable events held by friends throughout the year – including a sponsored walk and a skydive – the event contributed to the fundraising of about £9,000.
Collectively, money raised will go to three charities – Help Our Wounded, Hannah’s Holiday Home Appeal and Naomi House and Jacksplace.
The tournament’s other co-organiser, Mark Stockley, 40, says Jon – who was popular among his friends – would have loved the event.
‘It’s exactly the way he liked to live his life. It was social, there was football and the sun was shining.
‘We almost don’t need to be reminded of Jon – everyone has a Jon Hankey story.
‘He was the centre of attention and didn’t take life too seriously.
‘He was an infectious character.’