By John Carney
FERMANAGH’S soccer community is taking to the pitch to show its support for two important local charities over the next few weeks.
On Saturday, July 2, at Byrne Park, Lisnarick, there will be a memorial match for Lewis Keogh who died by suicide in November 2013 because of a serious gambling addiction.
Lewis was living and working in Leeds at the time and regularly turned out for local football team, Headingley FC. Following his tragic passing, his family and teammates were stunned to discover the 34-year-old had been addicted to gambling and wanted to play a game in his memory.
“The match had been planned for the past few years but had to be cancelled because of Covid. Lisnarick club chairman John Henderson has been a great help in getting this organised,” Lewis’s father Pete Keogh said.
The English side will play against an NFC Kesh veterans team in the first half and a Lisnarick side in the second half.
“Members of Headingley FC have been a great support to us since Lewis’s death. It came as a huge shock to all of us when he died. It’ll be a poignant occasion, but one that will give everyone great comfort too. These guys wanted to come over to see where Lewis lived and grew up,” Pete said.
In March 2020, Lewis’s parents Pete and Sadie helped launch the Gambling With Lives charity, and the match, which kicks off at 2.30pm, will also raise awareness and donations for this.
After the game, there will be a meal and drinks for the teams at Mahon’s Hotel in Irvinestown.
Meanwhile, Ben Holden from Enniskillen has organised a charity football game between Enniskillen Town and a Fermanagh select team, with all proceeds raised going towards Action for Cancer.
The community volunteer is set to host the football classic on June 25 at the St Michael’s College playing fields.
Following the game, there will be a fundraising night at Blakes of the Hollow with an award and presentation ceremony for the respective team winners.
Ben felt the need to organise a fundraiser for the charity after witnessing their “tremendous services” firsthand.
“I am undergoing a placement with Action for Cancer, and after seeing the tremendous services available for children and young people in the local area, I have been inspired to organise a charity football match,” explained Ben.
“Rossary Groove Supported Accommodation, the Floating Community Support and the Family Support Hubs are all excellent services to the local community and it would be brilliant to raise funds for future generations.”
At the time of going to press, Ben has already raised £60 for Action for Cancer.
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