A much-missed family man who died in tragic circumstances will once again be remembered by friends and family at an annual charity football match.
Mark Dixon, 32, a devoted husband and father, died in hospital a week after he was the victim of an unprovoked single-punch attack in Hartlepool town centre in October 2014.
This weekend, relatives and pals will attend the memorial football match which will include a minute’s silence and balloon release before kick off.
They will include Mark’s wife Lorraine and seven-year-old daughter Ella, who live in Peterlee.
The game, followed by entertainment to raise money for a trust fund in Mark’s name, will take place on Sunday morning at Greatham sports field.
It is the second annual memorial football game organised by Mark’s cousin Gary Horton and friend Mark Sickling.
He is still talked about by a lot of people whenever we go out. It’s not the same without himGary Horton
Gary said: “Mark is still massively missed. That is why I will keep doing this and keep his memory going as long as we can.
“He is still talked about by a lot of people whenever we go out.
“It’s not the same without him.”
Two town teams that Mark used to play for will battle it out for the Mark Dixon Memorial Trophy.
They are the Belle Vue Old Boys managed by Gary and Mark Sickling’s The Sports Bar.
Once again, there has been no shortage of potential players.
“Both Mark and I have had a massive response again from people wanting to play,” said Gary.
The game kicks off at 11am at the sports field on Station Road.
Afterwards, everyone is welcome to join in fun and games being laid on at the Bull and Dog pub in the village.
It is staging karaoke, putting on food and there will be a bouncy castle for kids and raffles to raise money for the Mark Dixon Memorial Trust Fund.
Gary thanked Jayne Gallagher at the pub, Roy Blyth butchers, The Fruit Boy, The Hillcarter Hotel, Sweet Balloons and Zunzo Inflatables for supporting the event.
Last year’s football match, played at Horny Park in Seaton Carew, raised almost £600 for the trust fund.
Gary added: “I’m hoping we can beat that this year but if not every penny counts.”
Following the attack Paul Sutton, 29, formerly of Raby Gardens, Hartlepool, was found guilty of manslaughter after a trial at Teesside Crown Court and jailed for six years.