Footballers will take to the pitch this weekend to raise money for the funeral of a popular young sportsman.
The sporting community is in mourning following the sudden death of 19-year-old Dean “Deano” Carney, from Westleigh, in the early hours of June 1.
He was a former junior player and coach at Eastleigh JFC and spent a year playing for Hindley ARLFC.
Now, his sporting friends are pulling on their kits for the Dean Carney memorial match, which will be held on Sunday.
AFC Leigh is organising the event to raise money for his family to help pay for a funeral.
Manager Stuart Carbery said: “There are a couple of lads that knew Dean - one of them is Dean’s cousin and others were close friends of his. He did used to come down and watch the team a few times.
“We considered him a fan. When I found out he had passed away, it was quite a shock. I don’t think anybody saw that coming, it came out of the blue.”
Members of the Sunday league team suggested holding a memorial match and Stuart set the wheels in motion.
Players from the club will join members of Centurion AFC and Dean’s friends on a pitch at Howe Bridge Leisure Centre.
Kick-off is at 11am, with a minute’s silence before the match to honour Dean, who Stuart described as a “super nice bloke” and “well liked”.
Up to 44 people can take part in the match and Stuart is still looking for people interested in playing.
He said: “I’m trying to reach out to friends and family that I don’t know.
“I didn’t know Dean that well, but want to do something in his honour.”
Players will be asked to contribute at least £5 to the appeal and kits will be provided, though they are asked to wear their own shorts and socks if possible due to limited availability.
Donations will also be collected from spectators, with a suggested amount of £2.
A funeral for Dean will be held at 3.15pm on Monday at Howe Bridge Crematorium, followed by refreshments at The Spinners in Leigh.
His family has asked mourners to wear either their favourite football or rugby team’s shirt or bright colours with jeans.
More than £1,700 has already been donated to an online appeal to help cover the cost of the funeral.
To take part in the memorial match, call Stuart on 07834 417160 or go to AFC Leigh’s Facebook page.