A GROUP of Basingstoke residents gathered together to stage an “emotional and heartfelt” football match in memory and honour of loved ones they have lost.

Residents from the Winklebury estate came together at the Hampshire FA Stadium for the The Legends of Winklebury Memorial Football Match (TLWMFM) last weekend (June 18).

The teams were made of family and friends of the legends who have died. All the players who were from Winklebury played with their loved one’s names on their shirts.

Basingstoke Gazette:

The event started in 2021 with a memorial football match commemorating the lives of George Nash and Freddie Elgar.

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George and Freddie were who long term friends, both had lived in Winklebury for many years, both were most certainly legends of Winklebury.

The friends died within days of each other during Covid restrictions. Both George and Fred’s funerals could only be attended by 30 people but in normal times there would have been so many more. So, once restrictions were lifted, Cathy, George’s wife of then 48 years, had the idea to stage a football match in their honour.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Cathy said: “It was just a fabulous day for all of the people that came and there were plenty of goals with a final score of 6-1.

“We also had a minute’s applause for all the people who had died. For me it's just a lovely way to remember loved ones and it meant a lot to a lot of people.”

During the game the names of all those who died were read out to honour them, Cathy said a “few tears were shed” in a very “emotional day”.

Basingstoke Gazette:

She added: “It brought back a range of emotions from excitement about the match to bringing back the sadness but it really did mean a lot."

Both families worked together to organise the first match in 2021, and it was attended by over 500 people and raised £4,351 for Naomi House and Jack’s Place.

It was so successful that many asked for the event to be repeated again this year. Cathy reached out to the community for volunteers to help and from there the TLWMFM committee was formed.

As Team Nash, in blue came on to the pitch to Glad All Over, there were cheers and shouts from family and friends remembering how George had loved Crystal Palace FC. They were closely followed by Team Elgar, in red coming onto the pitch to Sweet Caroline, with the crowd singing along.

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Cathy added: “The match began and by half time the score was Team Nash 3 and Team Elgar 1 (from a penalty). Team Nash then went on to score another 3 goals. I was delighted that Team Nash won as Team Elgar had beaten us last year 7-6.”

Basingstoke Gazette:

The Winklebury Wizards, the local children’s teams for the area, also held their own mini tournament in honour of Graham Garrett, a Winklebury legend who passed in 2015. Before passing Graham did so much for football for the children of Winklebury, this tribute is very well deserved.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Going forward the committee intends to hold this great community event annually, in fact there is so much interest from potential players, it is foreseen that it may become a Legends of Winklebury League in 2023.

This years match raised over £2,500 but it is yet to be decided who the beneficiary is.

Cathy said it will "definitely" go towards "one of the many community projects in Winklebury".

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