Saturday 3rd July at Charlton Astro Pitch was the setting for a highly entertaining charity football match in memory of Kevin Heaton which raised over £1,500.
In a thrilling game between Rainbow UTD and Countess of Brecknock FC which saw a high scoring 17-12 (Confirmed by organiser Liam Heaton that is up for debate) to Rainbow UTD, people came together in support of this charity match organised by Liam Heaton in memory of his uncle Kevin, who sadly passed away last year.
The score was irrelevant as the teams who played all played in the memory of Kevin and the months leading up to the game and the game raised a whopping £1528.70 for the Countess of Brecknock, which is dear to the hearts of the Heaton family. The real winner was community spirit and love for Kevin.
The event had a tombola, raffle and food and drink. Many spectators turned up to support this wonderful event and the support was incredible to see and the positive effect Kevin had on people’s lives was evident to see.
The pre-game banter was fun to see and I was lucky enough to talk to all the Heaton’s. You can listen to what Liam, Alan and Justin Heaton had to say in the soundbites below.
Before the game started both teams and crowd honoured Kevin with a 1-minute applause, a touching moment to start this game off.
The game itself was end to end and looking at the teams, Rainbow UTD looked like they would run away with but the experience (Kind word for age) and game intelligence of Countess Of Brecknock FC proved that the old boys will not be a roll over, Rainbow UTD didn’t use their advantage of speed early in the game as the high line from Countess of Brecknock kept catching the organiser Liam Heaton offside many times, “Was he born offside” was a regular shout from the crowd.
The goals started to flow but it all came from Countess of Brecknock who took the lead through some great team play.
Countess of Brecknock had Kevin’s 3 brothers, Justin, Alan and Kevin as well as brother in law Ricky running the show with their team combining well in a great show of game intelligence and teamwork to keep the Rainbow UTD youngsters at bay.
The first half was close but as the game went by Rainbow UTD got their grip on the game and started to eventually (not by Liam Heaton) started to beat the offside trap and the goals started to go in.
The tired legs of Countess of Brecknock started to take its toll with Steve Jones, a familiar face at Canto Gelato, who raved that he used to be a good player, had to exit early due to a pulled hamstring. Steve claimed that he did his stretches correctly but some still question it today.
The second half started like the end of the first with Rainbow UTD turning it up, but the will of Countess of Brecknock never let them out of their sights and kept coming back with goals to keep the game competitive.
Kick Start FC’s Benjamin Hammett-Brady who just came to spectate found him starting the game for Countess of Brecknock and put in a performance that ESPN would have on their highlight reel.
After being caught offside more times than he has had haircuts, Liam Heaton was thrust into goal for the final 15 minutes, and gave a great performance in the goal when he wasn’t conceding.
Final whistle rang and nobody really knew what the score was but that wasn’t the reason they came, they came to show their respect and support and truly brilliant man that had a great impact to his friends and family, this game was for Kevin Heaton and Liam Heaton did his uncle proud backed up by Justin, Colin and Alan they all did the Kevin proud.
The game was finished with a huge embrace from both sides. The Heaton trophy was presented to the winning team and provided an emotional response as Alan Heaton presented Liam with a special gift at the end which rendered an emotional coming together that belongs to the Heaton family, but watching on I could only gauge the emotion they were going through and it was such a privilege to be asked to be part of this day and I thank the Heaton family for allowing me to be there and I look forward to brushing off my Puma Kings and doing my bit for this going forward.
The event ended with a brilliant speech from Denise Heaton, mother of Kevin, Alan, Colin and Justin who was rocking a brilliant multi-coloured haircut and she was really emotional from the support, and said to the players that they were all her men of the match just for taking part in this great day.
With a brilliant totalled raised and the comradery on show, Kevin Heaton meant so much to his family and the people he met. This game showed the true spirit of what we can achieve in the memory of loved ones.
As a director of Andover Radio and Love Andover Observer is was a pleasure to be part and to sponsor this event, but the emotional impact and the legacy of this event for years to come will forever be apart of me as a local lad, I truly felt the spirit of family and love at this event, especially in the times we live in.
Liam Heaton, you brought more than football home for your family that day.