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Friends and family of Leigh Gaskin are once again planning a Football Fun Day to bring his team mates, school and university friends and everyone else who knew him together to celebrate his life and to raise charity funds in his name.
Leigh, who lived in Melksham and attended Aloeric School and then George Ward School, died in August 2014 at the age of 27. He is remembered fondly for his sense of fun, his love of football and sport and for his resilience and bravery during a 20- month period of intensive treatment for a rare cancer condition.
As part of an ongoing charity effort and with the help of Melksham Town Football Club, a football day is being organised for Bank Holiday Sunday 29th May at the Conigre.
There will be a junior football tournament, a disabled team match and a competitive charity match involving Leigh’s Melksham Park team, alongside other attractions that are being arranged, including a children’s disco and evening entertainment featuring a local band, to make it an event for the whole family on a bank holiday Sunday.
Keith Taylor, who was Leigh’s manager and coach at Melksham Park and who helped to arrange a similar event last year said, “Last year’s event was so well received and supported by friends, relatives and people that may not even have known Leigh, that we were very keen to do it again.
“We raised a lot of money for Leigh’s charity and had fun doing it, so doing it all again at the end of the last season of football at the Conigre seems like a good idea.
“Local businesses were so supportive in terms of sponsorship and raffle and auction prizes and we hope to build on that this year.”
Leigh had a rare cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma and his family and friends have been raising money for Sarcoma UK and the Bone Cancer Trust which fund research into the condition and provide support and advice for people diagnosed with the condition, which most often affects children and young people.
Over £16,000 has been raised through Just Giving and through different events arranged by friends, who have been motivated to do something in Leigh’s name.
Lynn Gaskin, Leigh’s mother, explained that Sarcoma UK have been particularly interested and supportive of the different activities that have been arranged and which have meant that fundraising in Leigh’s name was recognised as one of their biggest contributors during 2015, leading directly to the employment of on-call patient advisors.
Other activities are planned including a 280-mile charity cycle ride from London to Paris involving four of Leigh’s friends from George Ward School – Emily Gabriel, Beth Turrell, Jonathon Hurst and Katy Gray – a brilliant effort on their part which they are undertaking in May for Sarcoma UK under the team name Keep off the Grass – inspired by Leigh’s twitter profile picture. Lynn adds that you can find their donation page at www.just giving.com/teams/keepoff thegrass and would ask that people support their effort which requires donations to be made in advance of their ride.
So make a note of the date and place – Sunday 29th May at the Conigre – for, hopefully, a sunny football related fun day and a chance to come together to remember Leigh as a friend, team mate or class mate. For more information please contact Lynn Gaskin on 07899 845525.