THE LEGACY of a prestigious Northumberland footballer will be remembered in the form of an annual memorial trophy.

After the death of Wallington FC and Rothbury FC mainstay Mark Bruce in June, the two sides have announced initial plans to stage an annual pre-season match in his memory.

Mark represented the Greens throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and his mastery in finishing helped the club clinch the Northern Alliance Division Two title and promotion in 2001.

While he was known as one of the region’s finest footballers, Mark played a key role on the Greens committee and helped with building work at Oakford Park - Wallington FC’s home ground.

Former teammate and step-brother of Mark, Stephen Cowan fondly remembers playing alongside 'Brucey'.

"Mark was a pivotal part of the Wallington side that won the North Northumberland league in 1995/96, which saw us promoted to the Northern Alliance where, almost 25 years later, we are still today.

"This was a massive thing for a club as small as Wallington."

Of the many special moments he produced for the Greens, a particular highlight remembered by many former players was a substitute appearance.

Mark arrived onto the field with 15 minutes to go in a home game versus Cowgate, with the Greens 0-3 down and reduced to ten men.

It was from there that he single handedly turned the game around, scoring a hat-trick, including a stunning lob, which helped the team to an unprecedented 4-3 win.

Former Wallington manager and teammate David Featherstone said: "The fact that Mark could change a game in an instance was never lost on his teammates and often prevented them from suggesting he should chase after a loose ball or hurry a defender."

He had a huge heart with a natural charm and an incredible sense of humour that could raise a smile from even the sternest of referees.

David added: "Another fact would be the glare. This was the look a teammate received if a pass was just a yard either side of Brucey."