It’s often cliche to say that work colleagues or team mates are ‘like family’, BUT in the case of Christopher Hendrie, that certainly was the case.
Christopher, or ‘Chrissy’ as he was known, was a knee footballer from a young age and at 16 joined local Ballymoney team Riada FC where he would remain throughout his football career and where he was fondly thought off and well liked with everyone.
Unfortunately at just aged thirty, Chrissy passed away after a short illness, having only received a cancer diagnosis nine weeks previous. His death on 31st October in 2014 hit not just his close family and friends hard, but also sent shockwaves throughout the local football community.
One of his closest friends, Mervyn McIntyre who managed Chrissy at Riada FC, spoke fondly about Chrissy in a local paper at that time saying:
“Chrissy played for me and was there all his days. We were close and I knew him from he was 16 or 27 years of age.
He was always wanted on the team and he was an all round good fella.”
As Chrissys death occurred close to Christmas, Mervyn and other football friends decided they wanted to help his wife Gillian and two children to have a special Christmas, the first without a husband and a Father. And the Memorial 5-aside to Chrissy was born.
Since the first charity tournament on 26th November 2014, local teams continue to meet every year at the Joey Dunlop Leasure Centre in Ballymoney and take to the pitch for a game of 5-aside to see who comes out on top.
As much as the football is important, it’s the money raised for the various charities over the years that stands out and this year is no different, with the money this year going to local girl Aaliyah Cochran, who has Cerebral Palsy, stem cell fund.
From 14 teams, the final saw Aghadowey and Dunloy FC face against each other in the final, eventually seeing Dunloy take the win and the Christopher Hendrie Memorial plaque, presented this year by Chrissy’s young son, Teddy.
The 5-aside tournament and BBQ after raised at total of £1050 for Aaliyahs stem cell fund.
PICTURES: MdM Photograpth