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Graham McGuigan's memorial football match at Flowserve's Lowfields' ground was a "superb day".




A MEMORIAL football match for a Newark firefighter was bathed in sunshine sent from heaven, said one of its organisers.

Saturday's feast of football at Flowserve's Lowfields' ground began with a junior football tournament.

After that, the main event saw a team of Newark firefighters contest the Graham McGuigan Trophy with a side from Warriors FC, the youth set-up that Graham used to coach.

It was the second year in a row that the tournament has been held, after Graham's death through illness.

Organiser Matt Ridyard, a close personal friend of Graham's said: "It was a superb day.

"It was hot out on the pitch ­— a complete contrast to last year when it snowed.

"Graham took care of that and sent us some sunshine from heaven."

Warriors retained the trophy with a 2-1 win over the Newark Fire Station team, in what described as a

Martyn Rose opened the scoring, latching onto an "exquisite" 50-yard over-the-top through ball played, and described, by Ridyard.

It was Rose who added a second before Matt Stephens pulled one back for the fire service on the stroke of half time.

It was evenly-contested second half and the score remained the same at the final whistle.

That left Graham's son Sully, who captained the Warriors side, to lift the trophy in what was another emotional day.

The man-of-the-match award, as chosen by father-of-three Graham's widow Lesley, went to Warriors' towering centre-back Jack Smith.

"They thought they probably did enough for a draw but we think we just about edged," said Ridyard.

"The trophy was gratefully received by Sully and it means Warriors retain it."

The day, which also involved inflatables for the kids, a raffle and social events, looks to have raised around £2,000, which will be shared between the Fire Fighters Charity and the Children's Bereavement Centre, Newark, both of whom were represented at Lowfields.

Two of Newark's fire appliances

Ridyard said the day attracted "fantastic support" with at least 200 people spectating.

"There was great banter from the touchline," said Ridyard.

"The game was played in good spirits and there was quality in the game.

"Daz (Watch Manager Darren Charters of Newark Fire Station) had his team better organised than last year ­—mainly due to the ringers, of whoich there were than at Newark Parish Church.

"We couldn't have asked for a better day.

"It was great to see old friends. Some of the fire service lads we hadn't seen since last year."

Graham, 44, was as passionate about football as he was about the fire service.

Graham was on Blue Watch at Newark Fire Station for his 20-year career with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

A suite at the the new fire station on Boundary Road has been named after him.



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