Annual George ‘The Podge’ Summerside memorial match helps seriously ill teenager in Sunderland

Players who took part in an annual charity cricket match in memory of George Summerside.
Players who took part in an annual charity cricket match in memory of George Summerside.
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Cricketers hit the wicket as part of an annual charity game in memory of a much-missed sports fan - and help a teenager battling serious illness.

The match took place at Wearmouth Cricket Club to remember Sunderland supporter and retired firefighter George Summerside, who died in 2012.

George Summerside with England cricketer Alastair Cook.

George Summerside with England cricketer Alastair Cook.

Nicknamed “The Podge”, George, of Roker, who would have turned 59 today was a regular fixture at SAFC matches while also being a fervent supporter of the England cricket team, following the side all over the world.

Popular George’s improvised hoardings for Pallion’s Marshall Murray Domestic Appliance Engineers, Lilians Blinds in Southwick, and Roker Tandoori had TV viewers worldwide baffled during coverage of the England-Bangladesh test match in Chittagong back in 2010.

An annual match has been held ever since he passed away and organisers decided that this year’s event would benefit Sunderland teenager Natalia Rooks, who has been diagnosed with the aggressive bone cancer Ewing sacroma earlier this year.

The 17-year-old is now hoping to raise £6,000 to fly to America later this year where she will undergo proton beam radiotherapy which will reduce the size of the tumours and mean that she does not need major surgery.

George Summerside.

George Summerside.

Teams representing The Jacksons and The Howard Arms, both pubs which George used to drink in, face off for the game.

George’s brother Paul, 54, told the Echo: “After George died someone made the suggestion that with him doing a lot for charity, we wanted to carry it on in his name.

“We really want people to use it as a release and not mope because George wouldn’t have wanted that and we want to celebrate his life.

“My daughter Becca is a friend of Natalia and when we found out she what she has been diagnosed with, it was a no-brainer to raise money for her at the match.

Natalia Rooks post-headshave

Natalia Rooks post-headshave

“The girls managed to raise £120 alone from selling wristbands and I’d say, even though there is some money to come in, we’ve raised £800 so far, which we’re really pleased with.”