Andover Events Local News

Community spirit shines in memory of much loved Andover Man

Thruxton Recreation field staged a family games night in memory of the much loved local Tony Hemsley, many from Andover will remember Tony from his ‘monumental days’ as owner of Beady Baba’s in Black Swan Yard.

Over a hundred adults and children descended on the field on Friday (6th September) to have fun in the late summer sun. Teams of teenagers and adults competed at rounders, football, cricket and sprinting whilst the younger ones enjoyed egg and spoon races, sack racing, rounders and running. Rather fittingly The Hemsley Harriers managed by Tony’s widow Sheila Hemsley and captained by son Adam won the main event and scooped The Tony Hemsley Memorial Cup. Scarlett Starletts captained by Tony’s granddaughter scooped the children’s trophy which was beautifully named ‘The Happy Memories Kids Cup’.

So many people donated either their time, expertise, money or all three to ensure that the event was a huge success. Particular thanks to local lads Jamie Catt and Kevin Smith who recently set up Smokewood Kitchen and kindly donated the catering for the event. There were lots of happy faces as everyone tucked into their amazing slow smoked pork, slaw and Pitt beans.

The main goal of the evening was to celebrate Tony’s life and for friends and family to have a fun filled evening. That goal was surpassed as people played games, chatted, laughed, danced, sung and ate late into the night. The other goal of the evening was to raise awareness and money for Bowel Cancer UK. People kindly donated Auction and raffle prizes as well as making direct donations to the charity. Along with profits from the bar the fund raising currently stands at a staggering £4000. A truly amazing achievement.

Event organiser Rick Smart  “Tony used to run a Youth Club and he loved cricket so we thought a family games night would be a fitting tribute. I have been blown away by peoples generosity both in terms of the time they gave up and the money they donated. The community spirit made for a truly memorable event which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. And to raise so much money is the icing on the cake. We will be holding the event annually and hope to have even more teams next year competing for The Tony Hemsley Memorial Cup”

The Hemsley Family would love to thank everyone that attended the family fun event especially Rick Smart, for putting together a truly amazing event, Kelly Osman (Tony’s Daughter) commented: ‘’Thank you to everyone who helped. Such a lot of hard work put on by so many, £4000 has exceeded our expectations massively, an enormous thanks to Rick Smart who facilitated and coordinated the event so expertly and have done it frankly out of kindness and an amazing sense of community spirit’’

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