GOOD sports are preparing to compete in an annual hockey tournament with a difference as part of the eighth Molly Olly Day.
The fun event, which is now a firm fixture of The Olton Hockey Club calendar, will see members compete in a series of mixed ability matches with quirky handicaps and rule twists.
Over the years the tournament has raised more than £10,000 for Warwick charity Molly Olly’s Wishes, which was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.
It will be a particularly poignant day for those involved on Saturday as it marks the eighth anniversary of Molly’s death.
The charity works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing as well as grant wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.
Mascot of the charity is a therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave who has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane which helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack that has now been handed out to more than 40 hospitals, along with a book from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave series.
Part of £2million raised, has also been used to fund the first Molly Olly consultant in paediatric medicine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Longstanding members of the hockey club, which fields teams from child beginners through to National League level, include Molly’s dad Tim and brother Ben, who now represents the 2nd XI.
Trustee and founder Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Tim has been a member at Olton & West Warks Hockey Club for almost 40 years. The club is very dear to him and been not only a source of great pleasure but also of comfort at times when things have been tough and for Molly’s brother, Ben too.
“It is full of people who have a passion for sport , who work hard, play hard and who come together to support each other. Many of the members have done so much over the years in a variety of ways to help Molly when she was alive and also to support her legacy, the charity, Molly Olly’s Wishes.
“This year’s annual Molly Olly Day is even more poignant as it falls on the 8th anniversary of Molly’s death but it is a fitting way to remember Molly surrounded by the kind and generous people at the club. Thank you to Adrian and team for organising everything. It is always a fun and inclusive day for all ages.”
Organiser and player Adrian Stapley came up with the unusual format which he’s built upon over the years.
He said: “Rather than mixing the teams up we actually pit them against each other, so the Badgers play the senior teams but we throw in a few handicaps to even things up and make it more fun, such as putting corner flags across the goal or reducing the numbers. So you might end up with a first team of 6-7 players playing a kids’ team of 16-17 players.
“It’s become part of the club’s culture and Olton’s calendar. It’s a lot of fun and it’s such a different day. It’s hockey – but it’s not hockey.”
Proceeds will come from match fees on the day as well as a cake stall and a raffle, including prizes donated by local businesses.
Visit www.mollyolly.co.uk for further details about Molly Olly’s Wishes.