Banbridge remember their absent friends

THREE tragic past pupils of Banbridge High School’s class of ‘96 were remembered at a charity football tournament last weekend, 11th June 2011

Mark Greenaway, Stephanie James and Wayne McKnight - all of whom were under 31 years of age when they passed away - were honoured by their former classmates at Cheney Park on Saturday.

The families of each deceased loved one chose a specific charity close to their hearts and funds raised on the day were split evenly between the three charities.

Proceeds went to suicide support group PIPS Newry & Mourne, the Willow Foundation which provides respite for seriously ill adults, and the Doghouse Sanctuary in Banbridge which rehomes dogs.

Family, friends, past and present pupils and teachers all turned up on the day for the six-a-side tournament, which was followed by a buffet, presentations and a raffle in Banbridge Football Club.

Organiser Deborah Lacey went to school with Mark, Stephanie and Wayne, and said she felt moved to organise a remembrance event on the fifteenth anniversary of their leaving school.

“It’s 15 years since we were all together and I thought this would be a good time to organise a reunion to see everyone again,” Deborah told the Leader.

“Family and friends of Mark, Stephanie and Wayne joined myself and others from the 1996 Banbridge High School graduation year to remember our friends and loved ones, helping us to support and raise funds for the three chosen charities close to their hearts.”

Deborah extended her thanks to all those who had helped to organise the event and anyone who donated items for the raffle.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped with organising the charity football tournament, those taking part and Shoefair Sports for donating two footballs for use in the matches. In addition I would also like to thank Iveagh Movie Studios, Donaghy’s/Shoefair Sports, The Coach Inn, Centra, Harry’s Bar and others who have kindly donated some wonderful prizes towards the raffle.”

Thankfully the weather held up well and there was no rain.  It was a great tournament with 10 teams taking part and there was some well played, competitive football with a good crowd coming and going throughout the afternoon.  It was a great day all round with the official 15 year Banbridge High School reunion that night.