A CHARITY afternoon will be held to mark a popular man’s tragic death.
Joshua Willingale, drowned in Hartlepool marina after going out with pals to celebrate his 24th birthday last September.
As the first anniversary of Joshua’s death approaches, his mum Debra Willingale is organising a fundraising event to raise money for a local junior football side.
Dozens of raffle prizes have been donated by generous businesses and individuals and proceeds from the day will go to the Greatham Under 11’s side.
Joshua, from the Oxford Road area of town, played football for a host of teams from a young age and Debra said she wanted to honour his memory by supporting a local side.
Debra said: “I would like to say a big thanks to all the people all over the town who have supported the event by giving raffle prizes and bought tickets.
“Now we just need people to come along and support us on the day.
“I wanted to help a local football team because football was Joshua’s life.
“He played for just about every team in the town as he was growing up.
“I heard that Greatham Under 11s were in need of funding so I decided to help them.”
The event will be held at the Hartlepool Nalgo Club in Westbourne Road on Sunday, September 15.
There will be various raffles and tombolas, bingo, stalls and games from 12pm-5pm.
Among the football teams Joshua, who worked as a labourer, played for were St Cuthbert’s Primary School.
In 2000, aged 12, he got to play at the old Wembley Stadium when the school reached the final of a national schools competition.
The last team he played for was Hartlepool Corporation Welfare Club. Friends from the club described him as “a lovely, quiet and unassuming lad who blossomed when he took to the football pitch”.
Joshua tragically drowned after going out drinking in Hartlepool to celebrate his birthday on September 15 last year. An inquest later heard there was no suspicious circumstances and no suggestion that Joshua wanted to do himself any harm.