Charity football match in memory of tragic Erin lives on

Erin Bates with sisters Lauryn and Olivia, dad Simon, mum Kirsty  and John Topping and Tina Reed from Durham Football Association.
Erin Bates with sisters Lauryn and Olivia, dad Simon, mum Kirsty and John Topping and Tina Reed from Durham Football Association.
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A charity football festival started by a schoolgirl as she battled cancer continues in her memory.

The third annual Erin’s Marathon Match tournament takes place later this month in honour of Erin Bates, 12, from Washington.

We do a lot of events for Inspired by Erin, but this is very much our flagship event. Having something like this to focus on really helps us.

Simon Bates, Erin Bates’ dad

Erin organised the first event as she fought against the brain tumour which eventually claimed her life in July last year.

Her close-knit family and friends channelled their grief to keep the tournament going in her name, while also setting up registered charity, Inspired by Erin.

This year’s event, which will take place at the Northern Area Playing Fields, Usworth, on August 29, will raise money for the charity which has ploughed thousands of pounds into providing a pathway into sport and physical activity for children and young people who’ve received treatment for cancer.

Erin’s dad Simon, 37, from Ayton, said: “This is a big event for us and one that’s particularly important as Erin organised the first one. “There’s a lot going on and will have more of a festival feel than last year.

“It’s a bit more structured than last year’s event as that was held so soon after Erin’s death.”

Teams are invited to play on the day, from groups under 7 to under 18s.

Adults can also take part in the fun in a series of charity games at the event, which is being staged with help from Washington AFC and Durham County Football Association.

In the past two years, the event has raised £12,000 for charity.

Simon, who is also dad to Olivia, seven, and Lauryn, 16, said: “We do a lot of events for Inspired by Erin, but this is very much our flagship event. Having something like this to focus on really helps us.”

The day, which runs from 9.30am to 6pm, will also include face painting, cakes, tombola, zorb football, a blind auction, stalls and more.

Teams who want to take part are asked to make a £10 donation to the cause or a £5 pay and play donation from adults.

n Any teams wanting to take part in Erin’s Marathon Match should contact Tina Reed at Tina.Reed@durhamfa.com.