20th March 2011
It was a sad reason so many people gathered in the church that cold December day.
David Green, just 19, had been snatched so suddenly from our lives we were all reeling in shock.
As I sat there the priest was concluding with the idea that David’s hockey and football clubs could organise some sort of fundraising event(s) for CRY which would really show our respect and love for David and his family. So the seed was sown!
Bognor Town Ladies Hockey Club, Coach Jerry and Middleton & Bognor Hockey Club got their heads together to make a plan. It was really helpful to focus on this event and channel emotions so positively.
Jerry put together a team of “celebrity” hockey players – local England, South of England and Sussex players who all knew David, to battle against David’s team, Middleton & Bognor Men’s 1st XI.
Local business were enticed into donating to this event (venues, advertising, printing, shirts, auction items, BBQ food, etc. were all gratefully received) and Sussex Umpires arranged two umpires for the match and donated to CRY generously.
The special day arrived and we were blessed with a warm sunny day, surely arranged by David himself! David’s family and the priests were guests of honour and were introduced to the teams before play. David’s brother, Luke, was playing in David’s place.
Noisy crowds lined the pitch, happily chucking money into the collecting buckets; the atmosphere was electric, especially during the one minute’s silence, when only birdsong and distant sounds of children playing could be heard.
The match was played in the spirit of good competition and fun, of course the crowds were cheering David’s team on with great gusto. The score was not overly important as Jerry’s “celebrity” team slotted home several expertly placed goals. But when Middleton & Bognor managed to scramble a goal the crowd went crazy!
In the last five minutes of the match all the Middleton & Bognor substitutes ran on to try and get another goal against the formidable opposition but found themselves defending a short corner as the final whistle sounded. Jerry asked Luke to take this shot at goal. The crowd went quiet and fingers were crossed as Luke stepped up to this task. As he scored a brilliant goal the cheers were deafening – surely deafening our David wherever he was watching from.
The local press were there to record the event, along with some local camera enthusiasts. It was great to see so many images of this event all over Facebook afterwards.
So with the match over, we all went to the clubhouse to tuck into a delicious BBQ and well deserved drinks. Jerry was the auctioneer, and the clubhouse was packed tight with would-be bidders. There were some excellent donations, such as a glider flight, dinner for two, full massage, hockey sticks and kit, tennis and squash rackets, etc. England Hockey had donated an England shirt signed by the captain. Portsmouth FC had also donated a signed shirt.
The most sought after item though, was an original hockey action painting by a local well known artist. He had managed to capture in the figures a good likeness to David, Luke, Jerry’s sons and my own two boys – all local players. David’s Mum, Gabby, had set her heart on this and got husband, Jes, to bid to dizzying heights. Little did they know it had already been decided to give this painting as a special memento of the day’s event in memory of David.
With the match, BBQ and auction over it was time to count up the amount raised for CRY. With a preliminary count of over £2000 everyone was totally amazed. There were tears in many eyes as people realised how much respect and love David had earned in his short life.
Captain, Bognor Town Ladies Hockey Club