Organisers of a charity football tournament in Kenilworth have been humbled by the ‘incredible’ generosity of the town’s residents after it raised close to four times what they were expecting.
Carl Smith, 45, organised the tournament along with his friend Riccardo Scimeca in the memory of his brother, Daniel Smith, who died from cancer aged just 24.
The eight-a-side tournament, called ‘Soccer 8s’, was held on Saturday June 30 at Meadow Community Sports Centre at Kenilworth School. It was won by Carl and Riccardo’s team ‘Real Sociable’.
And after hoping for £2,000 in donations, the tournament raised more than £7,500, with the total still rising.
The money will be shared between young individuals like Daniel who are living with cancer to spend how they see fit.
Carl said: “It was a real success on lots of levels. The tournament had a real family and community aspect to it this year.
“And the tournament was played in a really good spirit.”
Cancer has had a big impact on Carl and his family.
Along with his brother Daniel who died in April 2016, Carl’s father Earl also died from cancer in March 2018.
His 16-year-old daughter Ellie was also found with a tumour after she was found to have a mutated version of the SDHB gene, which increases cancer risk. She has since been given the all-clear.
Carl currently has a tumour himself, and is looking at having further treatment in London soon.
Throughout Carl’s ordeal, playing football with his friends, including Riccardo, helped him cope.
It led him and Riccardo to organise the first edition of Soccer 8s last year, which enabled them to make a donation to cancer patient Beth Semikin.
And the second time around, the tournament was far more successful in terms of support and money raised.
Donations on the day, raffles and a charity auction held at the Royal Oak after the tournament all contributed to the bigger-than-expected total.
The money raised was originally going to be given to one nominated individual with cancer.
But thanks to the high amount of money raised, Carl and Riccardo will be donating the money between seven young people.
Riccardo said: “The generosity was incredible. It was amazing really.”
Two of the beneficiaries are patients at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, one is at University College London Hospital, one is from Kenilworth and the other three are at Royal Free Hospital including Beth Semikin, who was given the money raised from last year’s tournament.
Carl said: “After all the bad stuff with my family, there’s been a lot of good come out of this.”
Carl and Riccardo wished to thank everyone who donated, landlord of the Royal Oak Aaron Smith and Jason Starkey and Paul Murphy at Everyone
Active who allowed the pitches at Meadow Community Sports Centre to be used for the tournament.