HUNDREDS of people turned out for a football-themed family fun day in memory of a 12-year-old girl who died from a brain tumour.
Erin Bates lost her fight for life in July after battling the cancer for a year.
Erin’s Marathon Match was held at Washington AFC’s ground in her memory, and to raise money for charities she had supported.
The day was organised by Erin’s parents and friends, volunteers from the club, and staff from the County Durham FA.
Her dad Simon, 36, said: “It has been a good turnout, I’m sure the weather helped.
“Erin helped organise last year’s day when we raised more than £5,000 for the charities.
“I’m hoping we will exceed that this year.”
Simon, who runs his own electrical engineering business, lives in Ayton with his wife Kirsty, 38, and the couple’s two children Lauryn, 15, and Olivia, six.
“It has obviously been a difficult time,” he said. “Helping to organise the marathon match has helped take my mind off things.
“Erin was doing well until she had the scan in June, which confirmed the cancer had come back.
“She died about three weeks later.”
Erin played for Washington AFC and was a keen Sunderland AFC fan.
“I’d bought her her first season ticket,” said Simon. “We’ve still got it, a friend is going to use it.
“It would have been Erin’s birthday on September 1.
“The marathon match will be an annual event, so I expect we will aim to have it on the weekend nearest her birthday.”
Mum Kirsty is sure her daughter would have approved of the day.
“Erin was very happy and bubbly and loved to get stuck into things like this,” she said.
“I know she would have been delighted to see everyone enjoying themselves.
“It’s going to take us some time to get over losing her.
“Every day is different, you don’t know how you will be until you wake up.
“If I feel rubbish, I know I have to put a smile on my face and keep things as normal as possible for the sake of my other two children.”
Details of charity fund-raising in memory of Erin are online: http://erinslegacy.org.uk/