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By Rachel Garfirth
Southend HC, Old Southendian HC and Brentwood HC joined up together for a day of tournament hockey to raise nearly £2000 for local charity Challenging MND which helps create lifelong memories for those suffering from Motor Neurone Disease.
Challenging MND was founded by Alex aged 43 following his own diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease. Despite not being a hockey player, Alex was no stranger to sport having represented Great Britain as a decathlete and playing rugby at Barking, Brentwood and for Loughborough University. Despite his diagnosis, Alex, through his charity has been able to raise £220,000 through numerous challenges including scaling the 3 peaks, walking a double marathon and recently reclaiming Thames Pedalo Guinness World Record, traversing the length of the Thames non-stop in 51 hours with 3 others.
The tournament started out with youth matches with 5-3 victories for Old Southendians against Southend Mini Titans and a 4-1 victory for Southend Titans against Old Southendian U16s.
There was some amazing hockey from the adults as well as standout matches including a five-goal thriller between Brentwood and Old Southendians. Brentwood took a 3-1 lead coming into the last five minutes of the match. Despite late attempts of a comeback for Old Southendians, it wasn’t to be with the final score finishing 3-2.
Elsewhere, Southend and Brentwood ladies made a combined XI to take on a dominant Old Southendians team to take an unpredictable 2-0 victory in the closing game of the tournament.
The family-friendly tournament brought together youth and adult teams to battle out for the team of the day instead of the more traditional knockout tournament. With stunning performances across all of the teams, the winner of the inaugural cup was Brentwood HC.
On the tournament, founder of Challenging MND Alex Gibson said ‘It was a great day for the charity and branching into other sports is what we as a charity stand for. The friendliness, spirit and camaraderie demonstrated were fantastic. It was a very well organised event and a big thanks to all concerned. Special mention has to go out to Liane Iles, Mel Lamb (Both Southend HC), Ali Twidale (Brentwood HC) and David Catchpole (Old Southendians) for all of their hard work behind the scenes. I can’t wait for next year’s event where we (Challenging MND) will be fielding a team. Watch this space!’
Alongside hockey, money was also raised by the sale of charity beer, Tombola and food stalls throughout the day with all funds being donated. Southend HC and Challenging MND aim to continue their partnership and make this a staple pre-season event for seasons to come!
For more information on Challenging MND, please visit www.challengingmnd.org