Teams turn out for charity football tournament in memory of Kettering man

More than 120 people took to the pitch for a charity football tournament in memory of Mark ‘Barney’ Barwell.

Mark Barwell was part of FC Unit, a Sunday morning football team which he and his mates played together in for about five seasons.

Sadly Mark died on September 21 last year so FC Unit decided to host the Mark ‘Barney’ Barwell memorial 7-aside football tournament at Tresham College in Kettering.

Last Saturday’s tournament involved 12 teams and attracted more than 120 players, with a further 150 people in attendance at the post tournament memorial barbecue held at Kettering’s Wayfarers pub.

Organiser Tom Smith said: “Such an amazing turn-out was completely testament to, and completely reflective of, Barney’s infectious personality and popularity.

“Big hearted with a big smile, kind to the core, quick witted and charming, it was a personality that resonated with everyone he ever met.

“He endeared himself to everyone, such was his affability.

“Mark could be the party animal, the wise man, the charmer, he could be sensitive and be the perfect person to lean on for anything.

“He was one of ‘life’s enhancers’.

“No matter how long or in what capacity you knew Barney, a piece of him would have stayed with you such was the impact and influence he had on all of our lives.

“We now hope to make this an annual event to keep Mark’s memory alive and to continue to raise money for charity.”

The event raised more than £2,800 for Parkinsons UK, Johnny’s Happy Place and Barney’s Legacy Fund.

Johnny’s Happy Place is a Kettering-based organisation set up in memory of Johnny Mackay who took his own life in 2014 aged 29.

His family and friends wanted to open an area dedicated to supporting people like Johnny and after being given space at Keystone Youth Centre in Rockingham Road, Kettering, they opened a cafe there.