Hockey club’s tribute to former player

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Ellon Men’s Hockey Club are to hold a fundraising match in memory of a former player who died from skin cancer at the age of 31.

Father-of-four Andrew Smith, from Newburgh, passed away in March, just six months after being told he had the disease.

He began his hockey playing career with the Ellon Academy team and was a member of their victorious Scottish Youth Cup winning team before moving up to the Ellon Men’s first team, making his debut in National Leagues at the age of 16. Andrew then moved on to Granite City Wanderers and played for the Aberdeen side in their National League team until his illness took its toll.

The fundraising game will be played at the Meadows on May 13 and begins at 1.30pm, to benefit Macmillan Cancer Care. It will feature former school team members who are returning from far and wide to honour the memory of their former team-mate.

Players will be coming from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Greenock, Stirling and even Dubai.

The opposition will be current and former members of the Ellon National League side in Andrew’s time, including Rob Jansen who is travelling from Holland for the game. Andrew’s younger brother David, another former player, will be making a guest appearance for the ‘youngsters’ side and organisers hope that Andrew’s parents will be along to draw the raffle at half time.

The Ellon club’s honorary president, Colin Gallacher, said: “The club has traditionally taken part in fundraising for cancer-related charities. We all have friends and family who have had to live with cancer at some point. We decided, however, to do some extra fundraising this year for Andy. We don’t have a set target - we just want to raise as much as we can.”

Team member Fred Dick has been extremely active in organising the raffle with generous donations from local firms and individuals, including a round of golf for two at Donald Trump’s new course at Menie. Fred is also undertaking a sponsored run from Fraserburgh to Gardenstown in June.

Tributes were paid to Andrew at his funeral in Newburgh’s Holyrood Chapel last month. His passion for sport began at Newburgh Primary when he scored more than 50 goals for the football team and was player of the year. He was a greenkeeper at Newburgh-on-Ythan, Meldrum House then Fraserburgh Golf Clubs.