Memorial match being held in memory of tragic Hartlepool dad Mark Dixon

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

Family and friends of a much-loved dad whose life was tragically cut short hope he will be looking down on them this weekend.

A third annual memorial football match will be held tomorrow for devoted dad Mark Dixon, who died aged 32 in October 2014.

Mark Dixon

Mark Dixon

He died in hospital about a week after he was the victim of an unprovoked attack in Hartlepool town centre.

Once a year, two football teams that Mark, of Peterlee, played for come together to play a match in his honour and raise money for a worthy cause.

This year, all proceeds will go to James Cook Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, which battled to save Mark’s life.

Mark’s cousin Gary Horton said: “This is the third one. We do it to keep Mark’s memory alive and all his football friends always look forward to it.

“There are that many people that want to play. Even people who are injured, they will be there and will pay their money to play.

“We are expecting a good turnout again. Last year was absolutely phenomenal.

“We have got our fingers crossed for the weather after the amount of rain we’ve had recently.

“Hopefully Mark will bring out the sunshine for us on Saturday.”

Mark’s six-year-old nephew Harry will lead the teams out on to Greatham Sports Field and kick off the game at 11am.

And Mark Sickling’s daughter Jamie-Lee will serve up refreshments.

Belle Vue Old Boys and The Sports Bar, managed by Mark Sickling, will battle it out for the Mark Dixon memorial trophy.

Gary. who plays for the Belle Vue Old Boys. said: “I know Mark will be out to get his hands on the trophy this year after we gave them a beating last time.”

After the match, everyone is welcome to the Bull and Dog pub, in Greatham, for bouncy castle, facepainting and balloon modelling for the children.

In the evening there will be live music and karaoke.

Gary said he has been inundated with generous raffle prizes, including four golf days worth £100 each from Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, Wynyard and Woodham golf clubs.

Weekend holiday breaks at Primrose Valley caravan park are also up for grabs.

Gary said: “People’s generosity has been unbelievable. As soon as the date was announced I had people coming up with prizes, some I haven’t even seen before.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the day.