Football tournament raises over £20,000 for local hospice

On Sunday 29 May, 16 teams competed in the annual Ivan Mitchell Memorial Tournament to raise funds for St Barnabas House hospice. The football event, organised by Matt Bailey, 45, from Steyning, is now in its 15th year, and has raised over £20,000 for the hospice to date.

“In 2006, a close friend of mine, Ivan, was diagnosed with cancer, and in 2007 he sadly died at the age of 32,” says Matt. “At this difficult time, he was cared for by St Barnabas House hospice, and I saw first-hand the difference they made to Ivan and his family.”

The first Ivan Mitchell Memorial Tournament was held in 2007, while Ivan was being cared for by St Barnabas House. “Everyone at the hospice was amazing, and we wanted to raise funds to say thank you for what they were doing for Ivan. At the time, he was well enough to watch the game, and we’ve held the event in his memory every year since.”

Each year, the event is held at Steyning Football Club and funds are raised through entry fees, ticket sales, and a raffle in the evening. “It’s a wonderful day, everyone has a great time,” says Matt. “Also in our thoughts on the day are Vic Gretton Snr, and Dave Allen, both who were close friends of mine and big football lovers. At the end of each tournament, we award the Vic Gretton Snr trophy for the player of the tournament. Many people attending the tournament knew Ivan, Vic, and Dave, and our thoughts remain with them during the event.

“I would like to thank everyone for their generosity and support in helping the event happen,” says Matt. “And a big thank you to Steyning Football Club and to all the referees for giving their time on the day.”

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