A CHARITY football tournament in honour of Wigan submariner Ian Molyneux was so successful it looks set to become an annual fixture.
Lieutenant Commander Molyneux, 36, was fatally shot onboard HMS Astute as it was docked in Southampton in April, devastating family, friends and colleagues alike.
At the weekend, an inaugural match between crew members from HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, on which Lt Cdr Molyneux served, took place at the Furness Building Society Stadium in Barrow.
The game was organised by Chief Petty Officer Gary Gitsham, of HMS Ambush, and Lieutenant Dan O’Riordan, of HMS Astute.
The day itself was a huge success with Lt Cdr Molyneux’s wife Gill and sons James and Aaron also making an appearance.
Just short of £1,000 was raised for Ian’s favourite charity, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.
CPO Gitsham said: “Shortly after Ian died, Lt O’Riordan and I sat down and thought of what we could do to remember Ian.
“We put the idea of a football match out and there was quite a bit of interest for it.
“The day was brilliant, and Barrow AFC were fantastic with us, providing officials and groundstaff for the day. There were around 200 spectators there so what was initially going to be a small kick around on a field, turned out to be a big local event.”
The match was a closely fought contest between the two sides, with the half-time scoreline at 1-1 before it finished 2-2 after extra time. The match was eventually won by HMS Astute 5-4 on penalties.
Admission was free but raffles, auctions and collection buckets ensured that the charity received a sizeable sum in memory of the father of four from Springfield.
And now it is hoped hat the event will become an annual thing involving more teams.
CPO Gitsham added: “Ian was my boss in my last three jobs so I knew him well.
“He was a really good bloke who always looked after his lads, no matter what, and he is very much missed. His two sons presented the winners with their shield, which was great to see.
“We’re hoping to host similar events in the future and invite more teams down and play for the Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux memorial shield.”