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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Carlisle football fundraiser may become annual fun day

A fundraising football tournament was so successful it could be turned into an annual family fun day.

Charity soccer photo
Tom English on the ball

Gary Birkett, 36, of Denton Holme, Carlisle, is a keen seven-a-side footballer and organised the charity event to raise money to help cure a devastating muscular condition.

The teams – from Carlisle, Penrith and Hexham – battled it out under glorious March sunshine, with Brassy Footwork finally taking the crown. Trophies and medals were supplied by Carlisle Glass and Carlisle Brass, while SpecSavers paid for the pitch for the event.

It was overseen by two FA referees who also gave up their time for free.

Although money is still coming in – and Gary insists they always need more – Sunday’s tournament raised almost £2,000 for Action Duchenne.

It is the only charity which funds medical research to find a cure for the rare muscle-wasting disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which affects boys. It has a life expectancy of 22, with not many sufferers making it beyond the age of 30. Gary’s 13-year-old step-son Will was diagnosed with the disease at the age of three-and-a-half and is one of just a handful of sufferers of the degenerative disease in Cumbria.

Speaking after the tournament, Gary said: “It went really well and the weather was great.

“Lots of people came with their families and so we are going to start planning it for next year soon – with so many people bringing children, we are hoping next year we can make it a big family event.”

To donate to the cause, visit www.justgiving.com/willswanderers

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