ORGANISERS of a memorial football tournament in memory of a much-loved young dad say they hope to have raised more than £10,000 for charity from this year's event.
From Stourbridge News. Original Report by Bev Holder (Chief Reporter).
The Olly Wilkes Memorial Football Tournament 2019 was held at Thorns Collegiate Academy, Quarry Bank, on Saturday June 22 in memory of 22-year-old Olly Wilkes, from Withymoor, whose tragic suicide in April 2017 devastated those who knew him.
Football coach Simon Wilkes, Olly's dad, who organised the event following an inaugural tournament last year, said it was fantastically supported and he added: "Early indications are that we have raised around £10,500 again."
He said he was feeling quite "overwhelmed" following the day-long fundraising event, which was followed by a raffle and auction of sporting memorabilia - donated by businesses and friends - at The Tenth Lock pub in Brierley Hill.
Money raised from the event will go to the Justice for Ryan campaign to help the family of Quarry Bank footballer Ryan Passey continue their fight for justice following his tragic death at Chicago's in Stourbridge where he was fatally stabbed in the chest in August 2017.
Some of the funds raised will also be donated to The National Society for Phenylketonuria (PKU) - the chosen charity of Withymoor Colts FC where Mr Wilkes was a coach for many years.
The event saw 240 football players, many of whom were friends with either Olly Wilkes or Ryan Passey, take to the pitch; while 120 children took part in a junior football tournament run by Withymoor Colts FC.
Simon said: "The beautiful game of football was enjoyed throughout the day by so many family, friends and the community who came out in force to honour both Olly and Ryan."
The event also included a barbecue, refreshments, facepainting, tombola, target shootout and crazy golf - and representatives from blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan, who were taking swabs on the day, signed up 18 potential new stem cell donors.
Simon, Olly's mum Lynn and brother Ben said it had been an "emotional day" for all but added: "This annual event in Olly's name and honour just has to take place year on year."
They added: "Olly loved a game of football and banter with his mates and that is what the day is all about. It was lovely to see so many friendly faces all together for the same cause.
"This year, us - the Wilkes Family along with our extended Withymoor Colts family, wanted Olly’s event to raise monies for another devastated family. The Justice for Ryan Campaign is another cause so close to so many local people's hearts; there was no other choice.
“It was a wonderful day, both our boys would have been proud of the show of love for all concerned."
Jason Connon, of the Justice for Ryan campaign, said: "We are extremely grateful to Simon, Lynn, Ben and Withymoor Colts FC for supporting our Justice For Ryan campaign at this year's Olly Wilkes Memorial Football Tournament.
"It was a fantastic turnout by our community both on the day and later in the evening at The Tenth Lock. We would like to say a massive heartfelt thank you to everyone that came along and supported us all.
"I’m sure both our boys were shining down on us on the day, which brought us wall to wall sunshine."