After Ballykelly footballer Paul Clyde died in 2012, his teammates wanted to make sure their good and honest friend would never be forgotten.
Two and a half years since the 46-year-old passed away, they are doing just that. They are also making sure Paul’s legacy reflects the kind of person he was - someone who would have done anything for anyone.
In that spirit, The Paul Clyde Memorial Cup is about more than football.
In its third year chairman Greg O’Kane said while the tournament is a fitting tribute to his lifelong friend - a talented footballer, liked by all - it’s also about helping others, and each year it raises money for local charities.
“We formed the committee in 2013 in memory of Paul Clyde, a colleague who played for Ballykelly United. He captained his beloved Ballykelly and he played for a lot of teams in the North West Junior league,” said Greg, “so we decided to form a committee and the tournament in memory of him.”
Paul’s sister, Bernadette, said her younger brother is “missed terribly” by his siblings Robin, Elizabeth, Brendan, and Jennifer.
“You wouldn’t have got any better than Paul,” said Bernadette. “You would never have heard him shout. He had no harm in him and he was just so good. Paul wouldn’t have turned a word in your mouth, and I never met a person who had a bad word to say about him. He was so good, honest and decent. We miss him badly.”
Bernadette said the tournament is a poignant tribute to her brother who was adored by his parents, Maurice and Ellen, and all his nephews and nieces.
“They thought the world of him, and it’s great to think his friends thought so much of him to do this. It’s great that they would do this to keep his memory alive,” said Bernadette. “It really is touching, and it does bring you comfort to know he will never be forgotten.”
The competition supports local charities - in the first year Foyle Hospice and the Northlands Centre in Derry were the beneficiaries.
“Last year we did it for the ‘Wee Oliver’ walk appeal. This year we are doing it for ‘Team Callum’, for Callum McCorriston from Limavady who has Muscular Duchenne,” explained Greg.
Laura Smith, Callum’s mum explained ‘Team Callum’ is designed to raise funds for research into treatments, and all money raised goes towards the Duchenne Research Fund
“Callum is five,” said his mum, Laura. “He is just like any other boy except Callum has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This is a severe, progressive muscle wasting condition. Duchenne is fatal.”
Laura said the family are overwhelmed ‘Team Callum’ will benefit from the tournament.
“To us it means the world that strangers have come to us and said, ‘Look, we are doing a fund raiser, can we give you the money?’ That, to us, again shows us the kindness of our local community,” Laura told the ‘Journal’ at the launch on Monday at The Drummond Hotel. “Callum is funny, cheeky, loves music and girls. He is not another statistic or a number. He is a much loved son and brother, a cousin, a nephew, a grandson, a godchild, a friend. He matters so much.”
Laura said Callum’s condition is deteriorating, but she is pinning her hopes at receiving funding for a breakthrough treatment for her son called Translarna. She knows it won’t cure Callum of the muscle wasting disease, but said it is only hope of a better quality of life. She continues to anxiously wait to on news about Callum’s funding application for the drug, but fears precious time is being wasted.
“We don’t have time; it’s not on his side,” said Laura. “Callum is on heart medication now that we didn’t expect at five years old. He’s up every night with cramps and pains in his side and we can see the difference. Time is something we don’t have.”
Greg said the tournament, which runs over two weeks, receives strong support from the community.
“In sponsorship, we have 43 businesses to facilitate the whole competition. The support is immense,” he said.
“I think Paul would really enjoy it. He’d be in the thick of things. He was a great, dedicated player and tragically he died in 2012 at the age of 46. He was very kind and he would have done anything for anybody, so this is such a good memorial for him.”
The tournament starts on June 1, with eight teams going head to head. All games are in Ballykelly in King’s Lane.
“Hopefully, this year, the tournament will be another roaring success,” added Greg.
For information see the Facebook pages ‘Team Callum’ and Paul Clyde Memorial Cup 2013.