Billy O’Connor Memorial Day: 22nd June 2018

Firstly, sorry this post has gone up so late, but it has been a busy few days for us, not least with Red celebrating her birthday on Tuesday (I won’t tell you how old, or she’ll glare at me and I’ll feel guilty). I know I don’t post enough on here as-is, but I wanted to share our experience from Saturday, as it was so good…

So, the Saturday just gone (22nd, date fans) we took ourselves along to the Upton Park Snooker Centre, for their fun day in memory of Billy O’Connor. For those who aren’t aware, Billy was a very talented young snooker player and former England junior captain, who lost his life to cancer back in 2015 at the age of just eighteen. We were first made aware of the memorial day through Sean O’Sullivan posting details on Facebook, but I got the wrong end of the stick and thought you had to be a player to go along. (The number of wrong ends of sticks I’ve got hold of in my life…) However, Gary Filtness invited us along, and so off we went on the sweltering Saturday morning.

We were greeted warmly by all and seemed to be recognised by a lot of people, which can get a little embarrassing for us, but we’re slowly getting used to it. There were two tournaments that day – a 6 Reds competition and a Shootout, the 6 Reds being first. We settled down to watch some fab talent of all ages and thoroughly enjoyed the matches we saw. Everything was played in great spirit and we got the sense that there was genuine fun in each game. The 6 Reds was won by Alex Clenshaw, a lad of just 17, who beat Michael Georgiou in the final.

We bought some raffle tickets from Billy’s mum Debbie and spoke to her and Billy’s father Barry – they are both warm and lovely people, and really appreciated that we had come along. Hammad Miah signed a lovely photo for us, and we got a photo with Michael Georgiou (see below – Gary made us hold the trophies for that day’s play – nothing to do with us, we can’t play!). The raffle was held, with some great prizes donated by World Snooker and other sources, including two signed cues, one of which was donated straight back to the fund. Some items were also auctioned and received great offers.

Snooker Goths with Michael Georgiou
The winner of two Shootouts with the winners of Most Unkempt Hair in Essex

The second half of the day was the Shootout, and Gary gave us the honour of doing the draws for each round (putting on our best Foulds/McManus impersonations… or maybe not). It was perhaps not as lively (well, mayhem) as Gary would have liked, but there was still plenty of enthusiasm from players and spectators alike! The final was a repeat of the 6 Reds one, this time with Michael coming out on top over Alex. Trophies were presented by Barry and Debbie, and things got a bit emotional, as you might expect.

I’m afraid I don’t know what the final total for the day was (if anyone could let me know, I will add it to this post), but what we do know is that the target was most certainly exceeded. If you would like to donate to, or support in another way, the Teenage Cancer Trust yourself, you can do so here: https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/support-us

The whole day was filled with good humour, love and support, and we were thrilled to be a part of it and hopefully help make a difference. I hope my ailing memory has done it justice (we, er, may have had a few refreshments along the way). We thank everyone involved for such a good time and all your kindness to a couple of weirdos like us. I am sure Billy would have been proud of everybody’s efforts in his honour. We will definitely be back next year – and maybe sooner if we end up deciding we want to start playing too…

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