A popular goalkeeper who tragically died earlier this year will be remembered at a special football tournament organised by two of her friends.
Dorcan Academy pupil Rhiannon Brown died suddenly in January at the age of 15. A former Swindon Town Ladies Under 16 goalkeeper, Rhiannon inspired a national NHS Blood and Transplant service campaign urging football fans to consider organ donation after she helped improve the lives of three people through organ donation.
Now Amie Milne and Chris Powles, who both went to school with Rhiannon, are hoping to do their bit for the Oxford Research Hospitals charity by staging a five-a-side football tournament at Youth First centre in Marlowe Avenue in her memory.
“Rhiannon transformed three people’s lives through being on the donor list so we thought it would be good to raise money for the Organ Transplant charity,” explained 16-year-old Amie.
“She loved football so much that we thought a football tournament would be a perfect fundraiser, it is something Rhiannon would have enjoyed.”
The fundraiser has been dubbed the Football Respect tournament by the two friends and is being held next Thursday (July 16). It is open to girls and boys aged 13 and 19 and runs from 6.30pm until 9pm. The cost to enter is £2 per player with a maximum of seven players per team and there will be medals for the winners.
Amie and Chris have been supported by Swindon Borough Council’s Youth Engagement Service and StreetGames team who have helped organise the tournament.
“We have been handing out leaflets promoting the tournament and we also have a ‘Football Respect’ Facebook page,” said Chris, 16. “We have got seven or eight teams already signed up but there is still time to enter. We just want to raise as much money as we can.”
Lindsay Colsell, Youth Engagement Worker for Swindon Borough Council, said: “Chris and Amie are regular attenders at Youth First youth centre and were really affected when their friend died suddenly earlier in the year.
“Youth workers at the centre provided them with emotional support at the time and when they approached us to ask whether they could organise and host a charity tournament at the centre we thought it was a fantastic idea.
“It is excellent to see young people wanting to take positive steps in a situation like this. They are great role models to other young people who attend the centre.”
Cllr Fionuala Foley, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “It is heartwarming to see the amount of effort Amie and Chris have put into organising this tournament and it is clear how much Rhiannon meant to them both.
“The fundraiser will not just be a fitting tribute to Rhiannon, it will also build on her legacy of giving the gift of life to those who are in desperate need of a transplant. If you haven’t already entered a team for the tournament it is not too late.”
If you would like to enter a team for a tournament please contact Amie or Chris via the Football Respect Facebook group or email Lindsay Colsell (Youth Engagement Worker) at: firstname.lastname@example.org