Salisbury Walking Football Tournament for the Darby/Rimmer MND Foundation – 28th July 2019.

What a brilliant day to help raise money for the Darby/Rimmer MND Foundation!

Stephen Darby joins the COGS for a photo!

It started with an email from our friend Judith Darcy, who plays for Arsenal – Lanesra, and who had previously played for Salisbury Walking Football.  Judith invited the COGS and the Canterbury Old Bags to join the Arsenal – Lanesra Ladies for a special event to help raise money for the Darby/Rimmer MND Foundation.   Along with 30 men’s teams there were going to be 6 women’s teams too.

Mark Corrigan, (Stephen Darby’s Uncle) who plays for Salisbury Walking Football, wanted to do something to help raise funds for his nephew, since Stephen was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, in September 2018. So a Walking Football Tournament was organised in aid of the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation, which was set up by Stephen and co-founder Chris Rimmer.

You can read more about Stephen’s football career below:

Arriving first thing in the morning, we were greeted by everyone we walked past and welcomed by the friendly Committee who had helped organise the event.  We then sat down to some bacon rolls to help us through the afternoon!  All 36 teams were then called to the entrance, to be announced as they walked into the pitch area.  Cheers were heard from everyone as each team was introduced. What a great way to start the tournament!  We then got a few photos (well maybe more than a few!) with England Captain, Steph Houghton, Stephen’s wife, before getting ready to start playing.

With the 6 women’s teams, we were all playing against each other in one League, playing 8 minute games.  The atmosphere was great, there was lots of camaraderie and some good football played.  The weather was perfect and the bar was well stocked! What more could we want?! We also enjoyed watching the more experienced men playing and spotted a Liverpool legend in one of the Liverpool teams, Alan Kennedy.

The only downside of the day, was a distressing injury to one of the Walton Walking Football team’s players, Sue Thearle, who had just scored the most amazing goal!  As we now know, Sue had unfortunately sustained a double leg break (both tibia and fibula) while scoring the goal and was taken to the local hospital.  We wish Sue all the best for a speedy recovery!

It was a great day for meeting new people and catching up with good friends, the Canterbury Old Bags, and no doubt from this day, other friendships will form and more football will be played as a result.  This is how Women’s Walking Football is now spreading as it’s another opportunity for “older” women to enjoy playing but without the running (well, we try not to run but sometimes forget!).

We managed to not lose a game, didn’t concede any goals and we won one of them.  However, that wasn’t enough for us to finish first.

The winners of the Women’s event were Walton WF and they were presented with a Cup and medals.  The men’s winners were Pompey, after beating Liverpool.  All teams were called up to the podium and presented with some beers (great choice!).

After the football, it was time to chill and have a few drinks with a BBQ.  It was great to chat to members of Salisbury WF who had organised the event and also to Stephen’s family.   After a few more drinks, it was time to head home from a brilliant day and what a fitting way to do it, just as the sun was going down!

If you haven’t donated yet and would like to, there is a Justgiving Page here:

Alternatively, the COGS are having a collection.  If you wish to bring any cash to one of our sessions, we can add it to the collection and put it on the Justgiving Page next week!  Thank you, in advance, for anyone who is going to do that!

In the meantime, keep spreading the word about the Darby/Rimmer MND Foundation and see if you can help raise funds in any way.

We will look forward to the second Tournament next year, wherever that’ll be…..

Some links to the photos from the day:  Photos sent in: