Games recall tragic Emily

Wearside Wildcats Netball Club team (orange) taking part in a netball competition against Meadowfield at the Farringdon Sports College, Sunderland, with proceeds going to Acorns Childrens' Hospice.

Wearside Wildcats Netball Club team (orange) taking part in a netball competition against Meadowfield at the Farringdon Sports College, Sunderland, with proceeds going to Acorns Childrens' Hospice.

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NETBALL players took to the courts in memory of a brave youngster who died of a rare genetic disorder.

Seventeen teams competed in a trio of tournaments at Farringdon Sports College to remember five-year-old Emily Hart, who died from incurable metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) in 2006.

Sam Brown, a sport and wellness development officer at the University of Sunderland, helped organise the event, which also raised money for the hospice that cared for the youngster.

“We ran three tournaments on the day – women’s, mixed-sex and one beginners,” said the 26-year-old, from Sunderland city centre.

“We had a really good turn-out.”

Emily, from Netherton, in the West Midlands, was diagnosed with MLD, which affects nerves, muscles and other organs, when she was just two.

Her family was supported by the Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust, which provides 24-hour care for youngsters with life-threatening conditions and who are not expected to reach adulthood.

“Emily lived at home right up until her death, but she went into respite several times at the hospice,” said Sam, a friend of Emily’s family. “Their care was absolutely wonderful and something her family has never forgotten.”

The event raised £425, with raffles and collections expected to boost the funds further.

“We hope to make this an annual event, highlighting the wonderful work the hospice does,” said Sam.

George Nicholson, Emily’s granddad and a friend of Sam, said he was overwhelmed by the support.

“It is a fantastic achievement,” said the 62-year-old, from Durham City. “Sam has put in so much hard work into organising the event. Seventeen teams is a fantastic turn out.

“I want to thank everyone who took part and helped us.

“It would have been Emily’s 10th birthday this year, so this is a fantastic tribute, especially as there is also a trophy in her memory.”

Donations are still being accepted at www.justgiving.com/SammyB1985