Hartlepool dad killed in fatal attack remembered at annual fundraising football match

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.
Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.

Family and friends came together for an annual football match in memory of a much-loved dad.

They pitched up to Greatham Sportsfield Association on Saturday for another fun but poignant day in honour of Mark Dixon.

Mark Dixon

Mark Dixon

Mark, 32, died after he was the victim of a single punch attack in Hartlepool town centre in October 2014.

The day, which also included fun, games and music at the Bull and Dog pub in Greatham village, is on course to have raised at least £2,000 for James Cook University Hospital which battled to save Mark’s life.

Mark’s cousin Gary Horton, one of the organisers, said: “It was an absolutely fantastic day from start to finish.

“Everyone said they hope there will be another one next year.

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.

“It definitely helps to keep Mark’s memory alive.

“You could do something every month for Mark because he was that popular.

“He was well thought of and had a lot of friends throughout the town.”

The Mark Dixon Memorial Trophy was once again contested by his former teams the Belle Vue Old Boys and The Sports Bar.

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.

The Belle Vue Old Boys managed by Gary ran out 3-2 winners after initially going three nil up.

Mark’s six-year-old nephew Harry led the teams out onto the pitch as mascot and kicked the game off.

Gary said the event was a huge success.

He said: “Before the game there was lots of banter but once the whistle goes it was very competitive with both teams trying to win.”

Mark Sickling (left) and Gary Horton with the Mark Dixon Memorial Cup. Picture by FRANK REID

Mark Sickling (left) and Gary Horton with the Mark Dixon Memorial Cup. Picture by FRANK REID

It was attended by members of Mark’s family including his mum Angela who presented the trophy to the winners, and his sister Angela.

Organisers also welcomed representatives from the Once Punch North East campaign group.

They included former Lance Corporal Albert Duffy, from Darlington, who was also the victim of a late-night attack in Hartlepool.

Gary hopes to work more with the campaign group.

Proceeds from the day will go to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit in recognition of the care Mark, of Peterlee, received after the assault.

“Hopefully we have hit the £2,000 target. There was great support for the cause because they knew what the day was about.”

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.

Football match in memory of Mark Dixon who died three years ago, with teams he played for Belle Vue Old Boys (yellow) v The Sports Bar (orange) at Greatham Sports Field, on Saturday.