A Memorial 5-a-side football tournament is set to take place in Stonehaven, writes Fiona Stokes.
The Gomez Memorial Football Tournament was first held in 2008 and was arranged in memory of 16 year old Catherine Gomez who was tragically killed in a car accident in Spain, just weeks after moving to that country.
Mackie Academy pupil Catherine was a talented footballer who played for the Stonehaven Girls football team and following her death, some of her team mates decided to arrange a football tournament in honour of their friend.
Tournament organiser, Sabrina Alexander, who is studying to become a primary teacher, explained why she decided to stage the tournament again this year.
“I originally wanted to make the tournament an annual event. However, after the first year I had to focus on my exams and getting into university, so therefore, I was unable to dedicate the time needed to hold the tournament. This year would have been Catherine’s 21st birthday, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to start the tournament up again and a nice way for us all to remember her.”
Reflecting on the success of the tournament in 2008 she said: “The first year was a massive success. I was thinking back to it the other day and realised how well we all did back then when we were only 16 years old. I am really hoping we will get the same amount of support this year, if not more. So far we have had some teams enter but we are definitely still in need of more teams to get up to the level of attendance we had back in the first year of the tournament.”
The first tournament was arranged by Sabrina along with a number of Catherine’s friends however due to many of the original organisers being in full time work, Sabrina describes this years tournament as more of an “individual effort.” “Close friends have been a great support this year, and like me, have juggled their busy lives with organising the tournament. I am so grateful to all of my friends and family that have helped me this year already.”
Many of Catherine’s friends will join Sabrina during the tournament to volunteer on the tuck-shop, raffle and bbq.
Sabrina still keeps in touch with Catherine’s parents, Ruth and Julio, who live in Spain. Catherine said: “It is always great to hear from them and they enjoy hearing how we have been getting on with our education, careers and football over the years.
“Ruth came over for the tournament the first year. She was very happy with what we had achieved, it was quite emotional for her to see the support from everyone in Stonehaven. Unfortunately, due to the tournament being arranged at such short notice they are unable to travel back for it this summer but have sent their love and thanks once again to everyone that is going to be involved. It means a lot to them that Catherine is remembered.”
Money raised on the day will be donated to a safe driving charity, which is yet to be confirmed. Sabrina said: “We lost Catherine at such a young age in a car accident and feel it is important to raise awareness of safe driving.
“Losing someone you love is always difficult, but knowing that it could have been prevented through more sensible actions whilst the car was being driven makes it somewhat harder to accept and this is something we hope no one else has to experience.”
The tournament will take place at the Juniors pitch at Stonehaven’s Mineralwell Park. Teams can still enter the tournament which will take place from Monday 15th August - Friday 19th August (there will be no games on Tuesday 16th) and everyone is encouraged to show support. If you wish to enter a team contact Sabrina on 07849 344036. Entry fee is £2 per player.