Thousands raised at annual charity football tournament

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Two families whose lives have been affected by Motor Neurone Disease came together to raise over £3,000 for the charity.

The Stitt family who annually organise a fun day, again held a football and darts event with the help and support of the Gillespie family. This year the event raised an amazing £3,340 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The Stitt family who lost well-known amateur footballer Alan, from the condition were joined by the members of the family of Evelyn Gillepsie, who also suffered from the crippling condition and sadly passed away earlier this year.

The event was a football and darts tournament held in the Bluebell, earlier this summer.

Members from both families were pleased with the great turnout and the winner of the football contest was Milltown Celtic. The darts winners were Sandra Walsh and Colin Nixon with Lauren Gillespie and Dickie as runners-up. The total amount raised on the day was £1770, which was doubled by Barclays Bank, making a grand total raised £3,540.

Alan Stitt, died in 2013 after contracting the crippling condition Motor Neurone, in 2008. In an attempt to find a cure he travelled to China for controversial stem cell treatment but having fought the condition for five years, Alan died on January 22, at the age of 48.

His family said that despite his illness he refused to let the condition rule his life and even at the late stages of his illness wanted to be as independent as possible.

He would use his foot to work his computer and even weeks before he died would refuse his food be liquidised despite warnings from the doctor that he could choke.

Alan was diagnosed in 2008, after he complained of a sore back and after a minor fall he fell and broke his arm.

Mother-of-two Evelyn Gillespie who died in January was diagnosed with the condition in December 2015. Her daughters Suzanne Garrett and Lauren Gillespie helped organise various fund raising activities shortly after her diagnosis and with the help of the community raised £38,000 for a bedroom, wet room and downstairs toilet to be built at her Glenmore home.

Among the fund raising activities included a blow-dry day that raised more than £5,000. Scores of others raised thousands with a variety of events, from a Bondi Beach swim (£500) and a Night of Mediumship (£1,000), through a dart contest (£1,055) and a parachute jump (£3,419) to a ballot which raised an amazing £9,000. A Helping Evelyn Gillespie Facebook page was also set up.