A charity football match held in honour of a popular Bilton man has helped to raise more than £2,000 for the hospital unit which fought to save his life.
Lee Flintoft, then 39, was stabbed in 2009 and, despite the best efforts of staff at Harrogate District Hospital, he died of his injuries a few days later.
Every year since his family and friends have hosted a charity football match in his memory, raising money for life-saving equipment on the Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) at the hospital.
The fourth annual Lee Flintoft Memorial Trophy Football Match was held on Saturday, July 20, at Killinghall Moor in the town.
The event saw members from his two major clubs, Harold Styans and Bilton Working Mens’ Club, compete in a football match.
“The popularity of Lee, and the favourably good weather drew a large crowd to witness the annual football match,” said his old friend, Martyn Metcalfe, one of the event organisers.
“It was preceded by a minute’s clapping as the players formed a circle in the centre of the pitch as a mark of respect.”
After the match, guests went to a barbecue and disco at the Bilton Working Men’s Club.
A popular and outgoing contracts manager for S&B Utilities, Mr Flintoft was a keen amateur footballer and assistant manager of Harold Styan’s FC.
Every summer for four years, his old team has taken on members from Bilton Working Men’s Club in the annual match.
“The event, which continued into the evening, raised a total of £2,250 towards the Intensive Care Unit at Harrogate and District Hospital,” added organisers.
“The organising committee would like to thank everyone who contributed their time and effort into such a worthy cause.”
The following match report is written by Martyn Metcalfe:
“The game started with both teams sharing an equal amount of possession due to both midfields cancelling each other out, Simon Lofthouse was an early casualty when his knee let him down once again and he was replaced by Allan Toole, but as the game progressed Bilton were finding the pace of Jim Drew, Ali Bowles and Paul Kelly hard to contain and last ditch tackles by both Dean Flintoft and Tom Hayden managed to stem the tide.
Jim Drew finally managed to round Dave Gibbs and deliver a finely weighted pass into the path of Paul Kelly who timed his run to perfection and finished with ease to put Styans ahead.
Harold Styans defence was now looking settled with central defenders Ben King and Mick Ramsay being well supported by Damian Miller and Saul Pullen, as a result of this security some excellent football was being orchestrated by Styans’ midfield notably Carl Stephenson, Jim Dawson and Phil Myles who was having an excellent game.
Despite Styans dominance Bilton were working hard in midfield and Ben Lazenby, Tony Harland and Mark Baronovsky were driving the team forward, Gary Hespin had had a quiet game by his standards and was substituted following a heavy tackle by Danien Miller, he was replaced up front by Dan Robinson to support Ian Hutton in the Bilton attack.
The next substitution was made by Styans who substituted Ali Bowles for Stu Longbottom and this substitution brought Paul Kelly more into the game when he hit the base of the post following a fine turn, he then forced Mark Latimer into an outstanding save when he managed to tip a superb shot over the bar that was heading for the top corner.
Half time arrived with no further score and although Bilton had not had a lot of attacking play they were still in the game trailing only by the odd goal.
At the start of the second half Bilton brought on 16-year old-youngster George Layfield to replace Eddie Plumpton and another youngster Ray Green to replace Mark Latimer in goal whilst Styans remained unchanged.
Bilton Club came out strongly in the second half ,putting Styans under a lot of pressure and forced the Styans defence into making a number of forced errors.
The pressure paid off following a mix up in the Styans defence when Dave King only managed to palm the ball onto Jim Drews head and into the Styans goal for a deserved equaliser.
Styans however managed to weather the storm and as the game progressed the Styans midfield once again took control and. Jim Drew then made amends for his own goal and finished off a fine attacking move to put Styans in the lead. The introduction of Michael Medley and Steven Walker injected some fight into Bilton and Walker in particular began to trouble the Styans’ rearguard.
A corner was then cleared by Styans and was met on the outside of the penalty area by Michael Medley who volleyed the ball back into the top corner giving Dave King no chance at all of saving the shot.
The game progressed and despite the players tiring in the heat Styans once more gained the lead when Mitchell Hayes a late substitute was in the right place at the right time to finish.
Despite a fine second half by George Layfield, Bilton conceded a further goal scored after a mazy run by Phil Myles when he smashed the ball into the top corner from well outside the box with his left foot, a fitting climax to an excellent match which was played in a good spirit and well refereed.
A number of changes were made late in the game by both sides to give the golden oldies a run out notably Mally Robinson, Wayne Maillard and Paul Hayes.
Man of the match award was awarded to Phil Myles who had an excellent game throughout.”