Memorial football match played in honour of Hailsham mother

A football match has been played in honour of a young player’s mother who died from cancer in February.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 9:14 am
Updated Friday, 28th May 2021, 9:26 am

Deborah Blackhurst’s husband, Jeff, also took part in the match alongside his son Robert as he is one of the club’s U14 coaches.

The match took place on Saturday, May 22, as Hailsham United Junior Football Club U14s played their dads and coaches on the pitch at Hailsham Town Football Club.

Mr Blackhurst said, “It was fantastic. Even though I am too old and unfit for it now it was a genuinely fantastic day, it really was.”

Deborah Blackhurst with her husband Jeff. SUS-210527-134631001

The father-of-two also spoke about how much his wife would have loved the event.

Mr Blackhurst said, “Debbie supported as much as she could with the local football team.

“Debbie would be there regularly as well so she knew all the parents.”

Following the match’s success, Mr Blackhurst is hoping to make it a yearly competition.

Jeff Blackhurst during the match with his son Robert. SUS-210527-134715001

He said, “We are desperately going to try and make it an annual event if we can now because it was such a fun day.

“It was a great get-together for the team and the club and the kids and friends and family.”

The club raised more than £1,200 for St Wilfrid’s Hospice through the match.

Mr Blackhurst said, “With St Wilfrid’s, they were so incredible.

“They kept her pain under control, she was at home until the last day.”

He added: “We have got lots and lots of good memories as a family, a great group of friends around us and we had a chance to say goodbye.”

Chairman of Hailsham United Junior Football Club Ricardo De Sousa also spoke about how the club try to give back to the community.

He said, “One of the charities we decided to support, for obvious reasons this year, was St Wilfrid’s Hospice for all the help they have done with Deborah and her family.

“We decided to put a charity match on this year. We have decided that we will try to do that every year in her memory.

“It was such a fun day. We had three 25-minute matches, there was a crowd of around 100-150 there.”

Mr Blackhurst thanked Jamie Skates who helped organise the event.

He said, “He was the one who really took an immense amount of time to get this organised and spoke to St Wilfrid’s, spoke to Hailsham Town to get the ground there.”