Memory of dad killed in one punch attack is kept alive by football

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The memory of a much-loved father killed in a one-punch attack is being kept alive through the sport he loved.

Mark Dixon was a huge fan of football and played for both Belle Vue Old Boys and the Sportsman Bar.

Gary Horton and Mark Sickling

Gary Horton and Mark Sickling

Today,, both teams came out to take to the pitch in memory of the 32-year-old and for the chance to lift the coveted Mark Dixon Memorial trophy.

The event, now in its second year, also raises money for a trust fund set up in his daughter Ella’s name.

Mark, from Peterlee, had been on a night out in Hartlepool, after earlier attending a wedding, when he was punched in the head by a drunken reveller, suffering a fractured skull.

He died six days later on October 11, 2014, having never regained consciousness and never seeing his wife Lorraine and daughter again. His 29-year-old attacker Paul Sutton, formerly of Raby Gardens, Hartlepool, was jailed for six years after being found guilty of manslaughter.

It’s was just so emotional to see everyone at the match

Gary Horton

The memorial event held at Greatham Sports Field in Greatham Village was attended by family and friends.

Ahead of the game, silence fell across the field as everyone paid their own tribute to Mark, before balloons were released.

His cousin Gary Horton, who organised the event alongside Mark Sickling, said: “This is the second time we’ve held this match and the turnout is absolutely amazing.

“It was just so emotional to see everyone at the match, turning out in Mark’s memory.

Charity football match in memory of Mark Dixon

Charity football match in memory of Mark Dixon

“He was such a great lad who would do anything for anyone. He would have loved it here and would have been the first one pulling on the boots if it was for someone else.

“He didn’t deserve what happened to him.

Last year the event raised just over £400 towards a trust fund set up for his seven-year-old daughter.

The match was followed by a family fun day at the cricket club featuring a princess tea party by A Bit of a Do, Skyline bouncy castle, Arnell Craftscope entertainments, Faces Galore face painting, disco, and Frozen characters.

Playing in memory of Mark Dixon

Playing in memory of Mark Dixon

(GOAL CELEBRATION) CHARITY MATCH IN MEMORY OF MARK DIXON

(GOAL CELEBRATION) CHARITY MATCH IN MEMORY OF MARK DIXON

Gary Horton

Gary Horton

Crowd gathers at memorial football match

Crowd gathers at memorial football match

Charity match in memory of Mark Dixon

Charity match in memory of Mark Dixon

Tragic....Mark Dixon

Tragic....Mark Dixon