A memorial match held in honour of an inspirational schoolgirl has raised thousands of pounds to help other poorly youngsters.
Prior to Erin Bates’ death in July last year, the 12-year-old had organised Erin’s Marathon Match while undergoing gruelling treatment for a brain tumour.
Even in the toughest of times, the Oxclose Community Academy pupil, who was a keen footballer, was passionate about helping others struck down by cancer.
Her passion lives on in the annual match which took place again at the Northern Area Playing Fields.
It managed to raise more than £5,000 for Inspired by Erin, a charity set up in her name, which provides a pathway into sport and physical activity for children and young people who’ve received treatment for cancer.
Among the attendees were SAFC Ladies who turned up to show their support.
Erin’s dad Simon, from Ayton, in Washington, said: “We feel so proud of how much has been raised in Erin’s name. It was a good turnout, especially as the weather wasn’t the greatest.
“We ran the event slightly differently this year, but it’s all trial and error to make it the best annual event we can.”
Simon, who is a coach for Washington AFC’s under 18s, added: “The girls loved having SAFC Ladies there, they are a big inspiration. Many of the girls on the team go to their games regularly.”
It’s the latest event held by the Inspired by Erin registered charity, which has so far raised tens of thousands of pounds.
Since Inspired By Erin was established earlier this year - by Simon and family friends, Tina Reed, Alison Douglas and Chris Ridley - fund-raisers have taken on a host of feats, including the Three Peaks Challenge to climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 24hrs; the Sunderland Big Bike Ride, the Lambton Run, a zip wire, C2C and various other runs.
“We’ve raised money for other charities,” said Simon, who is married to Kirsty. “But this offers a more bespoke service, because it’s specifically aimed at children who have undergone treatment for cancer and means they can take part in sport and physical activity in an environment suitable for their needs.”
l Anyone interested in learning more about the charity’s work can visit www.inspiredbyerin.org.uk or Facebook page facebook.com/erinslegacy.